A new, internationally funded study on
candle emissions has confirmed that well-
made candles of all major wax types exhibit
the same clean burning behavior and pose
no discernible risks to human health or
indoor air quality.
The independent laboratory testing, con-
ducted in late 2007 at Germany’s Beyreuth
Institute of Environmental Research in
Germany (Ökometric GmbH), constitutes
the most extensive and rigorous scientific
investigation of candle emissions to date.
In carrying out the tests, reference candles
made from paraffin, soy wax, stearin, palm
wax and beeswax were burned in a special-
ized testing chamber.
Emission gases were analyzed for more
than 300 chemicals known or suspected of
toxicity, health risks or respiratory irritation
at elevated concentrations.
Targeted chemical groups included dioxins
and furans, polycyclic aromatic hydrocar-
bons, short-chain aldehydes and volatile
organic compounds. Recorded emission
levels were then compared to any known
applicable indoor-air standards.
The study found all of the waxes burned
cleanly and safely, with no appreciable dif-
ferences in burning behavior.
Their combustion byproducts
were virtually identical in com-
position and quantity, with all
emissions levels registering far
below the most restrictive of
any applicable indoor-air stan-
dards. (See Table 1 at right.)
A similar but less extensive study
of paraffin, stearin and beeswax
candles was conducted by the
Beyreuth Institute in 1994.
By comparison, the 2007 study
added soy and palm to the can-
dle waxes tested, and expanded
the list of target analytes to
include an extensive number
of volatile organic compounds
as well as the polycyclic aro-
matic hydrocarbons, dioxins
and aldehydes investigated in
1994. No significant differenc-
es in candle emission behavior
could be detected between the 1994 and
A global consortium of industry groups and
companies sponsored the Ökometric study.
Funding was provided by the Association of