Paraffin wax often gets the worst reputation, out of all the different kinds of candles in the world. This is because it is petroleum-based, and made from sources that are known to leave some of the biggest carbon footprints in the world. Candles are loved for their warmth and their soft glow, which still makes them relevant today, despite the availability of electricity. However, with the recent focus of the world on climate change, the effects of paraffin wax constantly come into question. One of the things people wonder is: “Can you eat paraffin wax?”
HISTORY OF PARAFFIN WAX
Paraffin wax was first created in the year 1830 by Carl Reichenbach. It was soon discovered to be a suitable substitute for tallow wax, beeswax and other types of candle waxes that existed in the 19th century. Paraffin wax was made by dewaxing light lubricating oil stocks.
Slack wax, a by-product of the refining of lubricating oil, is a major raw material used in the production of paraffin wax (as a matter of fact, it is known as paraffin feedstock). It is a mixture of oil and wax, which first has to be de-oiled (or de-waxed) in order to obtain paraffin wax. The process used for this separation is usually crystallization. The resulting product from this process is usually further processed to obtain high quality paraffin wax, through processes such as deodorization etc.
Paraffin wax, though late to the game (compared to tallow and beeswax), soon became a significant favorite among candle makers of that era, because it was cheaper and easy to mold into many units. Before, candle makers (or chandlers), used to go from house to house in order to make candles for each household, using leftover animal fat from their kitchens (which was usually set aside for the express purpose of candle making). However, the advent of paraffin wax made it easy for candle manufacturers to produce large quantities of candles, using molds in their factories. Paraffin wax candles are also much preferred than other kinds of candles because they burn cleaner than tallow candles (i.e. they produce a lot less sooth, during their burning process). However, when it was first invented, paraffin wax was noted to have a low melting point. This attribute was improved upon by the addition of stearic acid.
THE MOST POPULAR CANDLE PRODUCERS IN THE WORLD
Owing to the increasing popularity of scented candles, in recent years, candles are back in vogue. And a lot of companies around the world have started producing them. Here are some of the most popular candle producers in the world:
- Private label
Private Label is a candle company founded in the US, which specializes in the custom manufacturing of candles. For over twenty years, this candle manufacturing company has been in the industry, and has made a good name for itself. They make candles through all sorts of processes such as pouring, boxing, and they even do screen printing. All their processes are done in-house, which is a factor that gives them an edge over their competition. In the year 2021, this company made over 906 million dollars in sales, making it one of the most successful candle making companies in the world (if not the most successful one).
- SC Johnson and Sons
SC Johnson and sons is an American company, based in Racine, Wisconsin, which specializes in the production of household cleaning materials and other chemicals, along with products such as candles. This brand has been around for over a century, and during that time, they have provided products that are qualitative and innovative. In the year 2021, this company made over 184 million dollars in candle sales.
- The Yankee Candle Co. Inc.
The Yankee Candle Company is a candle brand, founded in America. They are one of the biggest brands of high-quality scented candles in the US, and they boast one of the largest arrays of premium scented candles, which are sold all across the world. In the year 2021, this company made over 132 million dollars in sales
- Newell Brands
Newell Brands is an innovative brand that cuts across a large variety of fields, from writing to fragrance. The labels under their fragrance brand include Yankee Candle, Chesapeake Bay Candle, WoodWick and Friday Collective; which are all premium candle brands.
In the year 2021, this company made over 113 million dollars in candle sales.
- Empire Candle Co.
Empire Candle Co. is an Australian brand of premium candles that is renowned for their high quality, and clean technology. They provide a wide variety of luxury reed diffusers and luxury scented candles, many (if not all) of which are vegan friendly; made from natural soy wax, coconut and premium grade cotton wicks. Their raw materials are also sourced from local businesses in Australia. In the year 2021, this company made over 86 million dollars in candle sales.
CAN YOU EAT PARAFFIN WAX?
Some kinds of candles such as tallow candles – which are made from boiled down animal fat – can be eaten (although, this isn’t completely advisable, in instances when they are not intended to be eaten). However, in the case of paraffin wax, things are a lot trickier.
While tallow candles can usually digest better because they are made from animal fat, paraffin candles are often a lot difficult to digest. This is why the consumption of large amounts of paraffin wax can cause intestinal obstruction. It may also result in nausea, constipation, abdominal pain and other issues. When these kinds of candles (i.e. paraffin candles) contain dyes, their consumption can also lead to allergic reactions in people (who are allergic to components of those kinds of dyes).
Paraffin poisoning can come with symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, wheezing and swelling (particularly in the throat area). For all these reasons, it is advisable for people not to consume paraffin wax or paraffin wax candles.
So, the answer to the question, “Can you eat paraffin wax?” is simply “No.”