Most scented candles are made of paraffin, a petroleum-based product that, even at room temperature, can release harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Choosing natural candles instead of paraffin is the way to go. Reading the labels might not be enough because candle makers are not required to disclose the ingredients they use. Indeed, there are no labeling laws or regulations around the contents of candles.
Most candles today are made of paraffin wax which creates highly toxic benzene and toluene when burned; both are known carcinogens. The toxins released from paraffin candles are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes and are linked to asthma and lung cancer.
The environmental impact of paraffin should also be noted. Crude oil, being the origin of paraffin wax, is considered highly unsustainable, being a non-renewable resource. It has also been the cause of many environmental calamities in oil spills and damage to natural habitats.
The best way to choose a candle is by finding out the candle ingredients, what type of wax, and if the wax is 100% natural, whether soy, coconut, or bees, it's a better alternative. The best way to educate ourselves is to ask the right questions. Ref. Artisane
Brands that use soy, coconut, or bee wax:
Minnieology candles are soy wax, made and poured in the USA
Jo Malone (soy wax)
PF candle (soy wax)
Voluspa (coconut wax)
Soy Wax Blends are questionable; what is the blend? Most of the time, it's blended with paraffin.
Popular Brands that use paraffin:
Bath & Body Works
Blue Volcano Capri
Nest New York
Opalhouse at Target
Threshold at Target
Fragrance and Wick
The fragrance and no lead cotton wick are other items also to be considered. Minnieology candles are free of:
Minnieology scents are infused with essential oils.
I'm happy to look at your favorite candle brands to let you know what's in their ingredients, as it's not required to be transparent.
I hope knowing what's in your candle has been helpful.