Will soy candles affect my soy allergies?

Do you know anyone who has an allergy to soybeans? It is more common than you think. According to the Asthma and Food Allergy Foundation of America, soy allergies are among the top nine food allergies for patients with food allergy in children and adults. Reactions can range from red, itchy skin to anaphylaxis that requires immediate medical attention with epinephrine.

So if soybeans can cause death in an untreated individual with a soy allergy, why don’t soy candles carry a warning? The answer is simply because they don’t need it. Wax, whether it is soy, paraffin or beeswax, is very non-reactive and although someone may be allergic to soy in food, it is the digested protein that triggers the allergy, not the by-products of combustion (mainly anhydride carbon and water). In order for the allergy to take place, soybean must be digested to enter the bloodstream. If it is burned, the protein chains break and are no longer the same molecules that could cause allergy.

However, an allergy aggravated by soy-scented candles is very common, but it is caused by the added fragrance, not by soy wax. Nobody is able to predict or determine whether they will react to a particular fragrance. The only way to find out is to burn the candle and observe the result. Scented materials that are known allergens are not used by the perfume industry. But, as with food, some individuals will experience an allergy to a fragrance to which most of the population has no reaction.

The bottom line is that no one should be afraid of soy wax candles which aggravate their soy allergy. If you want to be sure, avoid particular fragrances if you know about allergies and if you buy a candle that disturbs you, take note of its fragrance and stop using it immediately.

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