Lighting a Candle Green - Our Daily Green

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lighting a Candle Green

Sometimes, Our Daily Green finds inspiration in the most unexpected places.

This morning, we've been preoccupied with the news of a little friend in our world who is undergoing treatment for a cancerous brain tumor. Her parents have asked us to say some prayers and light a candle because that is one of their child's favorite rituals. Our Daily Green believes in the power of prayer, even from unexpected places in the universe, so when we tweeted a prayer request and the next tweet in the FreshGreenKim feed was about using "green candles" it inspired us to write this post.

Most candles are made from petroleum based paraffin. According to Bnet's health and fitness archive:

Paraffin is the predominant wax used in the candle industry. Paraffin is basically the "bottom of the barrel" even after asphalt is extracted. Paraffin is the final byproduct in the petroleum refining chain. A retired chemical engineer who worked with the largest refiner of mineral oils and petrolatums in the United States, explains that one barrel of crude oil when refined gives the following percentages:

  • LP gas - 2.3 
  • Refinery gas - 3.7 
  • AV gas - 0.2 
  • Motor gasoline - 45.7 
  • Jet fuels - 6.8 
  • Kerosene - 1.2 
  • Diesel and heating oils - 21.1 
  • Residual fuel oils - 11.3 
  • Petrochemical feedstock - 4.6 
  • Lubricants - 1.3 
  • Asphalt, road oil, coke and paraffin wax - total 5.3

The original beeswax or newer soy based waxes are safer alternatives for candles and readily available. Petroleum-based paraffin releases volatile organic compounds such as benzene and toluene when burned. Sort of kills the reverence and mysticism behind candle lighting if it involves inhaling toxins.

Do yourself a favor and find beeswax or soy candles. Then light one and pray for our little friend. She can use the glowing warmth and hope.


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