Introducing the first MADE SAFE certified candles from Fontana Candle Company! Drawing inspiration and passion from their own experience, the company founders have strict commitments to quality, safety, and transparency. They are aiming to break the mold of ingredient secrecy that is typical in the candle industry. Crafted with beeswax, coconut oil, essential oils, and wooden wicks, they are as beautiful as they are clean. We are excited to share all about these great new products and the story behind them.
Q&A with Katie Roering, Founder
Why did you start your company?
Our journey began in 2017 when a friend gifted us with a name-brand candle. We very rarely burned candles in our home and were shocked to discover that after a day of burning the paraffin-based candle, we had headaches and felt horrible. We decided to research candles and what we discovered horrified us: The toxic truth about candles was hidden in plain sight. We realized that if we wanted to enjoy a candle that would be a complement to our nontoxic lifestyle, we would have to make it ourselves. So we got to work experimenting with beeswax and coconut oil, and the rest is history.
We are a family team of three: one of us has multiple chemical sensitivities, another has asthma, and we just lost a beloved family member to lymphoma in 2019, so we understand the importance of avoiding toxins firsthand.
Why are your products different from other, more conventional, products in the space?
The traditional candle is a concoction of hundreds, and even thousands of chemicals from the wax to the fragrance. Conventional paraffin wax is derived as a byproduct of petroleum, coal, or oil shale and contains controversial and harmful chemicals such as benzene and toluene. Soy is the popular alternative, touted as natural but many soy waxes are still processed with paraffin. Coconut wax has became the trendy natural alternative to soy; however, coconut waxes are either processed with paraffin or soy. Beeswax truly is the most nontoxic candle wax that can be used. But you may notice that you usually see unscented beeswax candles. That is because beeswax is an extremely dense wax and does not hold scent well. This is where our coconut oil comes in. The coconut oil softens up the beeswax enough to hold a lovely scent that is not too light, and not too overpowering.
And fragrance. We don’t even like to use that word here at Fontana. Fragrances used by many of the leading candle manufacturers are far from natural, containing up to several thousand chemicals. Many of these chemicals are assigned Globally Harmonized System (GHS) hazard warnings for being health and environmental hazards, and this information is not disclosed to the end consumer. This is not ok!
We have noticed that candle companies using natural waxes are calling their candles “all natural,” yet they are still using these harmful fragrance chemicals. We work every day to educate consumers on how to sift through all the false advertising to find truly safe candles.
What do you wish shoppers understood about the kind of products you make?
We want consumers to know that they cannot expect 100% natural candles to perform like those made with synthetic fragrances. Candles scented with essential oils are much lighter smelling than traditional candles. If you are expecting an essential oil candle to fill your house with scent, you will be disappointed.
We especially need to point out a new trend being used in both the candle and air freshener industries. Manufacturers will add a splash of essential oils to a chemical-laden fragrance oil, and then advertise that it is “made with essential oils.” The consumer then has a false sense of security that the product is safe and nontoxic. We can’t reiterate this enough: If a candle that is advertised as “all natural” is extremely strong smelling and fills your house with scent, it is NOT natural.
Why is it important to have third-party validation for your products?
In our opinion, the candle industry is one of the most non-transparent and greenwashed industries. The words “natural,” “nontoxic,” and “clean burning” are used far too often. Without standard definitions of these words, and a lack of regulated ingredient transparency, customers do not stand a chance to find a truly nontoxic candle by simply reading ingredient labels. We always knew we used the purest ingredients we could find, but now we can prove the purity and safety of our candles with MADE SAFE® certification!
Why are you proud of your MADE SAFE certification?
We are beyond excited to have our candles not only be MADE SAFE certified, but to be the first candles certified by MADE SAFE! It is the pinnacle of nontoxic certification, and with all the toxic ingredients in the candle industry, earning the seal is no easy feat to achieve. We founded our company with the mission to make the most nontoxic (but great smelling!) candles in the world, and now we feel like we have achieved that distinction.
What makes MADE SAFE the right certification for your products?
We truly believe that when it comes to health, what you breathe is just as important as what you eat! We understood the importance early on of having a third party certification on our candles; however, it seemed like candles were often overlooked by certification organizations. We were thrilled when MADE SAFE wanted to take a look at our candles. We both have the shared goal of providing access to products that consumers can trust without a doubt.
What is your concern around chemicals in our daily lives?
In the United States a chemical or product is assumed to be innocent before it is proven guilty. That is unacceptable to us. Our health is on the line with every product we use, and we do not think it is fair that our health is treated as an experiment.
Since we started Fontana, we have access to the Safety Data Sheets for ingredients that most consumers never get to see. Especially on fragrance oils, we have seen warning after warning that the chemicals should not be inhaled. We have seen several warnings that the fragrances were toxic to reproductive health and were potential carcinogens. It does not make sense to us that these chemicals are being sold to be used in candles. We know that products that are now proven to be dangerous, were once considered safe. We believe this to be true with many fragrance chemicals used in traditional candles.
As a family, we have personally experienced loss from lymphoma, which is thought to be a toxin-related cancer. Our experience inspires our passion to provide candles made with safer ingredients, which is why we’re so excited to be working with MADE SAFE.
For a current list of MADE SAFE® certified products from Fontana Candle Company, visit this page.