08 April 2014

Fewer Candles for High Quality Air

Cem Satvan writes:*

I am a person who likes designing his house fashionable. At the same time, smell and lightning are the most important part of home designing as much as furniture. Thus, colourful, sweet-smelling candles are placed all around my living room to create nice atmosphere. However, I realized that as deodorants and incense do, candles have harmful effect on air, which is a crucial life source. A burning candle leads carbon emission that leads air pollution because paraffin candles are made of petroleum. In detail, it produces pollutants such as benzene, styrene, acetone and other bad toxics. Therefore, the best idea is minimalizing its utilization or not even thinking as an option to protect air quality. Either, 100% soy candles may be a good alternative, if candles are important for you in order to create romantic atmosphere for special moments. Soy candles are more preferable because it made of natural-based oil, so it does not concern paraffin or other toxics.

Bottom Line: Paraffin candles lead air pollution by emitting carbon gasses.

* These guest posts are from students in my resource economics class at Simon Fraser University. Please leave feedback on their logic, ideas and style and suggestions of how to improve.


  1. This post has flawed logic by combining petroleum-based pollutants with carbon, and then suggesting soy candles as an alternative, to avoid the pollutants. Any candle will be producing carbon - soy might be cleaner in other terms, but the post doesn't address the carbon effects. It's also missing any discussion of the economics of the two choices, such as how the market failure of dirtier candles being cheaper than cleaner candles might be addressed by capturing the externalities into the price

  2. I never knew candles were associated with carbon dioxide.. And if it's true and the effect are significant, then I think it is important to share this information with many other people. I think your article can be improved by suggesting ways to change people's behaviour in using the paraffin candles to cleaner ones, e.g. internalizaing the externality cost/ price of carbon should be internalized in paraffin candle price so peopel would buy less of it..Though I believe carbon dioxide produced by burning candle is not that significant compare to other sources of CO2.. such as driving cars..

  3. I was suprised that candles have harmful effect on air because it made of petroleum. People who used to use candles could buy soy candles instead, in order to reduce the carbon emissions. However, people will change their behavior when they could get some benefit from it. As a result, the cost of purchase the soy candles should be lower than the petroleum ones. The government could do some regulation to limit the material use in the candle induatry as well, it also help to improve the air quality.


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