In the last few days, there have been several media reports suggesting that candles, especially paraffin candles, can emit harmful amounts of indoor air pollutants or even carcinogens. All these reports trace back to a study by two South Carolina State University researchers*.
The European Quality Association for Candles and also other international associations seriously question the scientific validity of this study. The assertions of Drs. Massoudi and Hamidi totally contradict the overwhelming body of scientific evidence of the topic. They have provided no data for review, and their conclusions are based on unsupported claims. No reputable scientific study has ever shown any candle wax, including paraffin, to be harmful to human health. Only heavily sooting candles or low-grade base materials may bear risks.
An authoritative international study in 2007 tested candles made from every major wax type and analyzed their emissions for more than 300 relevant pollutants known or even only suspected of toxicity, health risks or respiratory irritation at elevated concentrations. The study clearly proved that candles made of all waxes burned cleanly and safely, with no appreciable differences in burning behavior. The combustion byproducts of every candle wax were virtually identical in composition and quantity, with all levels registering far below the most restrictive of any applicable indoor-air standards worldwide.
You are on the safe side with Quality Mark candles
You only have to worry about emission of harmful pollutants if low-grade base materials were used or the flame releases visible soot. Both cases can be excluded for candles with the RAL Quality Mark.
A product is only allowed to be labelled with the Quality Mark if the strict requirements concerning raw material purity are fulfilled at any time. Critical amounts of harmful substances like benzene, toluene, sulphur, heavy metals or azo dyes are not possible for this reason.
Furthermore, all candles have to show an impeccable burning behavior already during development and later on in continuous tests accompanying the production, i.e. release of soot or dripping have to be absent for example.
Besides ongoing self-monitoring by the manufacturer, an independent and sworn expert carries out an external monitoring at regular intervals checking the unbroken producer´s documentation and taking samples for the subsequent analysis by an accredited laboratory.
This long-standing and well-proven system makes it possible for you to get best quality every time when you buy candles with the RAL Quality Mark. Thus, you can still use candles to perfectly create an emotional atmosphere without having to fear any negative health effects.
* Emission products of petroleum-based candles, Ruhullah Massoudi and Amid Hamidi, South Carolina State University, presentation before American Chemical Society symposium session, 2:15-2:35 p.m., 19 August 2009, Washington DC.
Research funded under a US Department of Agriculture grant entitled, Soybean Candles for a Healthy Life and Well Being.
Publishing date 19.04.2010Message as Word document.