Are candles bad for your health?
I’m a typical, super basic babe who loves my Starbucks and vanilla scented candles!! I only recently learned how horrible candles are for you. Did you know that candles can be as harmful as smoking?! The following is what I found from my research.
Why are candles harmful?
Many candles contain paraffin (a petroleum waste product) which when burned releases volatile organic compounds into the air, including benzene (linked to acute myelocytic leukaemia) and toluene (central nervous system disrupter). Some scented candles release volatile organic compounds above safety limits, even when they’re unlit. These toxic chemicals may cause headaches, irritation and allergies; in severe cases, they may lead to damage to vital organs including the lungs, kidneys, and central nervous system.
Candles release particulate matter when they’re lit – scented candles with an even higher amount of it because of the extra ingredients added for fragrance. Particulate matter contain microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are tiny and can be inhaled into your lungs, bloodstream, lower respiratory tract and alveoli, causing respiratory problems and may contribute to lung cancer.
It’s also very important to be aware of what goes into candles to make them smell nice. “Fragrance” is used as a blanket term to cover over 3000 toxic chemicals that have been linked to allergies, hormone disruptors, asthma, neurotoxicity and carcinogenicity. Synthetic fragrances are man-made, usually from petroleum-based chemicals, again exposing you to dangerous toxins.
What do the professionals say?
Dr. Ruhullah Massoudi, lead researcher and chemistry professor in the Department of Biological and Physical Studies at SC State University, stated in his study about unwanted chemicals production, “For a person who lights a candle every day for years or just uses them frequently, inhalation of these dangerous pollutants drifting in the air could contribute to the development of health risks like cancer, common allergies and even asthma.”
Anything that burns and releases smoke decreases the air quality around it. Dr. Andrew Sledd, Missouri pediatrician specialising in Environmental Toxicology, said that it only takes one hour of candle burning to produce the same effects as smoking one cigarette! Terrifying!
Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health published a report, created by Joseph G. Allen and Jack Spengler (who have over 50 years of experience combined researching how homes influence the health of those who live in them) with their top 36 scientifically proven expert tips for a healthier home. Sure enough, number 14: Stamp out the candles and incense! The report reads, “The evidence is clear—in homes with candles or incense burning, there is a sharp increase in airborne particles, sometimes reaching levels that are higher than what is typically measured outside in U.S. cities.”
If you’re wondering what you can do to switch candles out, then here are some options:
1. Get a diffuser and diffuse Young Living Essential Oils. The desert mist diffuser (that comes with the Premium Starter Kit) even comes with a candle flicker setting, so you can get the candle look without the toxic chemicals!
2. Make a room spray with essential oils. All it takes is a couple drops of essential oils, splash of witch hazel, water and a glass spray bottle.
3. Mix a few drops of essential oil with Epsom salts and add it to a warm bath.