Paraffin and gel candles are petroleum by-products. The smoke emitted when these candles are burned is akin to the carcinogens produced by cigarette smoke and the soot they give off contains many of the same toxins produced by diesel fuel. The wicks may contain lead, which is released into the air when the candles are burned. The toxic soot is very fine and when inhaled goes deep into the lungs. These pollutants are not good for any of us, but are especially harmful to children and pregnant women.
Soy candles are made of soy wax, a bio-degradable product that produces very little soot when burned and no carcinogens. Beeswax is another natural option. Natural candles maybe a bit more expensive initially, but the long term benefits are immeasurable.
Soy and beeswax candles burn at a lower temperature which makes them last longer and also emits more fragrance. Also the lower heat of the wax will not cause burns if it contacts the skin. (No candle should ever be allowed to burn unattended.) Paraffin / gel candles can become very hot if allowed to burn for too long and may cause their container to shatter.
Soybeans are a renewable resource and are grown in the USA. Paraffin is derived from petroleum, pumped out of the earth in mostly foreign countries.
As with everything, it is really important to do your homework and be aware of how your life style choices are affecting you, your family and the earth. A small change made by millions of people can make a huge difference.
Source by Nora O'Bryan