Candles | I hate to be the one to tell you this, but...
I love candles just as much as anyone. They're one of those 'micro-changes' that are so easy to do, yet have a big impact on the ambiance of your home. However, I had an abrupt about-face when I learned about the potentially toxic properties of most candles bought and sold today. Most candles on the market are made of paraffin wax, which is a petroleum byproduct. Therefore, when this product is burned, it emits at least two known carcinogens into the air: benzene and toluene. Even worse is if your candle's wick has lead in it. If it does, heavy metals will also be released into your environment when its burned. Once you know these facts, its hard to go about your home, casually lighting candles as you once did.
So what's the alternative? By far the biggest 'alternative' candle material out there today are the candles made of soy. There are a good deal of commercialized soy candles with some great scents. However, if you really want to go au naturel, soy likely isn't your best bet. The vast majority of all soy candles still contain paraffin, and the vast majority of soy has been genetically modified, so its not a good option if you try to avoid GMOs in your everyday life.
So what's the best alternative? Far and away beeswax candles are the best option for natural candles within your home. Beeswax is actually amazing in that it not only doesn't pollute the air, it purifies the air. Beeswax releases negative ions when burned which neutralize many air contaminants that are floating around in your space with a negative charge.
I have yet to try out a beeswax candle, but of course, I want to buy one asap. This definitely seems like burgeoning market still, so I haven't been able to find a ton on the market. This one from Etsy looks it could be a good purchase. It will be interesting to see if the major/high-end candle brands respond to consumers' desire for all-natural candles in the future.
Are there any natural candles you recommend? Would love to hear!