At most dinner gatherings, you can usually find smiling faces, delicious food and a table glowing with gorgeous candlelight. But most people are in the dark about what those common paraffin wax candles contain. Companies are not required to list candle ingredients (comparable to food and drink manufacturers), so most people never consider their contents. But by lighting that wick, you are letting the candle release waste products into your home environment, and ultimately into your body.

Paraffin wax is made with petroleum oil and chemical fragrances, while soy candles contain vegetable oil (from soybeans) and essential oils. According to a study at South Carolina State University, paraffin wax candles — the most popular kind of candles — emit toxic chemicals like toluene and benzene, while soybean candles do not.

8 reasons soy candles are a better choice for your home:

1. Soy candles won’t smudge your walls. Emissions from paraffin candles can build up on walls, leaving streaks on paint, wallpaper and can even build up on upholstery, affecting the every day air quality in your home.

2. Soy burns cleaner, so it's better for your health. It produces as much as 90 percent less soot than paraffin candles. This reduces the amount of indoor air pollution you will breath during your meal. Soy also won't leave as much unsightly black soot on the side of the jar.

3. Soy doesn’t burn as hot. Soy doesn’t produce as much heat — which is a good thing when you have ovens and appliances running along with extra guests packed inside the house.

4. Soy has a milder smell than both beeswax and paraffin candles, so it will interfere with the smell of your food less. Paraffin candles can release chemicals that can overpower foods.

5. Soy burns 50% longer. This means replacing your meal candles less often, and potentially less drips on the tablecloth over the same amount of time.

6. They’re natural and non-toxic. Soy and essential oil. That’s it! And they’re biodegradable, too.

7. Soy is easier to clean up. Candle clean-up can be tricky, but all you need is soap and water to get rid of soy wax spills.

8. Soy is sustainable. Soy wax is completely renewable. Everything on the plant can be used, from the seeds and beans to the husks and oils. We decide how much soy we grow. Petroleum or gas wax, of course, is not renewable. Being a gracious modern-day dinner party host means caring for your guests and caring for your environment, too.

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