The ancient Romans developed the wicked candle in the year 500 BCE by repeatedly dipping rolled papyrus in melted tallow wax, derived from the fat of cows and sheep, and attaching it to a strand of twine. It was not until the 1500s when beeswax was introduced, but it was difficult to obtain, resulting in its use primarily by the upper class and Church in Europe. Although candles were once exclusive and difficult to make, they are now widely available, which is why ASTM F2058-07(2021): Standard Specification For Candle Fire Safety Labeling specifies fire safety warnings on candles units of sale.
What Is ASTM F2058-07(2021)?
ASTM F2058-07(2021) covers requirements for fire safety information to be placed on candle units of sale, and it mainly applies to retailers and distributors. Since candles are intended to be burned with fire, specifically on a heat-resistant, noncombustible surface or on a heat-resistant, noncombustible candle accessory, this standard species fire safety warnings on candles. These fire safety warnings appear as precautionary information on the label of the unit of sale and include the following:
- Safety alert symbol
- Signal word (if present)
- The fire safety warning statement(s)
- Pictograms (if present)
It is important to note that ASTM F2058-07(2021) does not pertain to birthday candles or candles intended for places of worship, commercial institutions, or industrial use.
What Is the Best Material for a Candle?
Candles are made from wax, which is made from the refining process of crude oil. Candle wax is a flammable, carbon-containing solid that becomes liquid when heated. Here is a list of the pros and cons of various materials (waxes) used to make candles:
- Paraffin Wax: is also known as crude oil. It holds a lot of fragrance and color, casting stronger scents, and it can be molded into all kinds of shapes. It is inexpensive but not ecofriendly. Paraffin wax is very fast burning, hard to clean up, and creates soot. Paraffin also emits small amounts of volatile organic compounds, toluene, and benzene, which have all been found to link to asthma and lung cancer.
- Soy Wax: is a vegetable wax that is harvested from soy beans. Sox wax is denser and more pliable than paraffin, allowing it to have a higher melting point and burning time of 50% longer than paraffin wax. It is more eco-friendly and emits less soot and toxins than paraffin, allowing soy candles to have a stronger scent profile.
- Beeswax: is ecofriendly as it is derives from bees and their honeycomb hives. Beeswax produces ions that purify the air. It offers a hard wax substance, allowing it to be molded into pillar candles. Beeswax produces a sweet aroma, so it works best when it is used as an unscented candle or with fragrance/s that mingle well with its sweet scent.
- Coconut Wax: is harvested from coconuts, which is a sustainable crop and renewable material, unlike paraffin. It holds fragrance and color well, and it does not produce much soot and gives a cleaner burn. Since coconut wax comes from a high-yield crop, coconut wax candles are expensive.
- Rapeseed Wax: Rapeseed oil (canola wax) is derived from a yellow flower that is produced from cabbage and mustard-like plants. It offers a slow burn, making it a long-lasting candle. It is not easily found in the United States but is common in Europe, where it is a locally sourced and sustainable product with a minimal carbon footprint.
With a variety of candle waxes from which to choose, fire safety standards pertaining to candles like ASTM F2601-18 (Fire Safety for Candle Accessories) and ASTM F2417-17 (Fire Safety for Candles) are important to ensure safety for the normal use of candles.
ASTM F2058-07(2021): Standard Specification For Candle Fire Safety Labeling is available on the ANSI Webstore.