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Gulf-friendly guide: Alternatives to oil-based products

Candles

Photo: mikko/Flickr

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Candles

THE PROBLEM: Candles are another product that uses a paraffin-wax base, a byproduct of petroleum refining. Contaminants in paraffin, such as toluene, benzene, methyl ethyle ketone and naphthalene (substances found in paint, lacquer, and varnish removers), make it a particularly problematic choice for candles, since they may enter the air we breathe at home. The American Lung Association also notes that recent studies suggest that burning candles increases pollution by fine particles.

THE ALTERNATIVE: Candles made from soy wax, beeswax, and essential oils are fairly easy to come across and do not include the contaminants found in paraffin their smoke poses less of a health threat.