Candle Burning


A recent study conducted at the Bayreuth Institute of Environmental Research in Germany has shown that well-made candles of all major wax types pose no discernible risks to human health or indoor air quality. This comprehensive study, funded by a global consortium of industry groups and companies, confirms the clean-burning behavior of candles, making them safe for indoor use.

Key Findings

  • The study examined reference candles made from paraffin, soy wax, stearin, palm wax, and beeswax.
  • Emission gases were analyzed for over 300 chemicals known or suspected of toxicity, health risks, or respiratory irritation at elevated concentrations.
  • The study found that all tested waxes burned cleanly and safely, with no appreciable differences in burning behavior.
  • Combustion byproducts were virtually identical in composition and quantity, with all emission levels registering far below the most restrictive of any applicable indoor-air standards.
  • A similar study was conducted in 1994, and no significant differences in candle emission behavior were detected between the two investigations.

Contributing Organizations:

The study was sponsored by the Association of European Candle Manufacturers (AECM), the Asociacion Latino Americana de Fabricantes de Velas (ALAFAVE), Cargill, Incorporated, the European Wax Federation (EWF), the National Candle Association (NCA), and the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA). Sasol Wax GmbH and The International Group, Inc. also contributed through the preparation and certification of the testing samples and provision of project management personnel.

Additional Research

In addition to the primary investigation, the Ökometric researchers were asked to conduct a preliminary examination of sooting candles and the formation of particulate matter. The results of these related investigations will be discussed in a later report.


This extensive and rigorous study provides reassurance that well-made candles of all major wax types are safe for indoor use, posing no discernible risks to human health or indoor air quality.

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