Most candles that you find today are made of paraffin wax, but unfortunately, it’s not the safest compound to be inhaling as it burns. Even if your asthma isn’t affected by these scented candles other parts of your body are (even if you can’t feel it. Placing a few jars half full of baking soda throughout your home can improve the smell of your indoor air. Yes it’s true that the fragrances which make candles so enticing are made with chemicals (it’s not surprising you can’t pack a pine tree forest into some wax) but all of these fragrances typically conform to safety standards established by the International Fragrance Association, which ensures that chemicals used are non-toxic and safe for human use. Another popular brand of scented candles is Yankee Candles. There’s no hard and fast rule for how long it’s safe to burn a candle before it starts causing any trouble (the research just isn’t there) but in Nolen’s opinion, “the longer they burn the more they’re producing pollution,” so try to not to burn them all day long. Upon closer inspection, the NCA also found that the researcher who conducted the study never verified that the candles he looked at were actually paraffin or soy candles and that one of the harmful chemicals the researcher claimed to have found in paraffin candles (trichloroethylene) could not have been produced in combustion given that paraffin doesn’t contain the elements necessary to produce it. This dreamy candle has scents of pure lavender, roman chamomile and bergamot essential oils – all of which again we know will relax our pooch to no end. According to Janice Nolen, the Assistant Vice President of National Policy at the American Lung Association, “just the scents alone, for people with asthma for example, can cause problems with breathing.” Nolen recommends skipping scented products altogether (yes, air freshners and oil diffusers included) but urges that extreme only with particularly vulnerable populations like young kids, asthmatics, and adults over 65 definitely stay away). Well, nothing else has really come up to make us think otherwise. Lead was routinely used in the manufacture of candle wicks for decades. Sadly, the bad news about scented candles doesn’t stop there. The wax, as fuel for the flame, combusts and becomes smoke, carbon dioxide, water, and a few other substances in the air. Scented Candles = More Indoor Air Pollution. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Because of this, you should still keep in mind that they aren’t completely free from impacting your indoor air. Anything that releases smoke decreases the air quality around it, whether it be a coal plant, a burnt piece of toast or a scented candle. As this other study by European researchers found, when candles burn they produce mostly carbon dioxide, water, and fragrance (if you’re burning a scented candle) and any other chemicals that are produced when burning are found in such low concentrations that they don’t pose any serious risk to health. Scented candles are popular and can often be a part of home decor and even your daily routines. To summarize, candles are no longer made with lead-core wicks, their wax is non-toxic, and you don’t need to feel bad for enjoying their delicious scents … We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy. I am considering candle making and have been reading article after article and understand what you say: burning candles pollutes the indoor air, period. Online press releases from EurekAlert and National News mention research carried out at the South Carolina State University and orally presented at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Particulate matter is so small that the particles can get deep into your lungs and cause respiratory problems and even contribute to lung cancer. Blended with essential oils or premium grade fresh & earth fragrances, these candles have cotton wicks, are soot-free, and are eco-friendly. While some scents can have aromatherapeutic benefits, many of the scents contained within candles are artificial organic compounds and not always healthy. Limited information is given about However, some candles can release particulates that include toxins and carcinogens. But here’s the thing, upon closer inspection I found that the majority of these articles didn’t have any studies or hard facts to back them up. If you are using candles in a normal way in a well-ventilated area, they are unlikely to affect your health. Among these are antibacterial hand soaps, sanitizers and lip balms. If they contain harmful and volatile ingredients like paraffin wax. Diffusers disperse essential oils that fills a room or area with natural fragrance. This candle smells so heavenly you will feel any stress slip away from the first whiff. OK, so the wick is fine, and the wax is harmless, but what about the fragrance in scented candles? “There’s no question that a candle does produce these but they produce very very small amounts compared to the air that you’re breathing,” he said. Scented candles are a huge source of indoor air pollution. There are studies that link hydrocarbon to cancer, the same harmful additive that’s in paraffin wax which is also found in some candles. Also, thanks for letting us know how we can make candles ourselves. It may be shocking to think that your favorite candles could potentially be bad for you, and made worse by added fragrances. In fact, to fight this notion that wax is harmful in any way, the NCA in conjunction with other international candle associations sponsored a study of paraffin wax, soy wax, palm wax and beeswax candles to see what sort of chemicals they emit when lit. I am going to use Beeswax candles. What Makes Candles So Bad Paraffin is the major ingredient in most conventional candles and is a sludge waste product from the petroleum industry. Anything that releases smoke decreases the air quality around it, whether it be a coal plant, a burnt piece of toast or a scented candle. Depending on the type of candle you’re burning, candles can be bad for your home. Candles can be a source of lung irritation. If you must use scented candles for special occasions and holiday parties, you should consider improving your indoor air ventilation and filtration. The resulting smoke creates millions of ultra fine particles which remain in the air for several hours for you … The independently conducted study found that “ all the major waxes burned in a very similar manner and all waxes produced virtually identical combustion products...all waxes were shown to be safe when used in candles,” said Harrington. You can also consider using an air purifier such as Molekule, which can destroy harmful chemicals and filter particulate matter. That, however is not quite true. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io, Marie Kondo Says You Should Keep Unwanted Gifts, Archie Joins Harry and Meghan on Their Podcast, Krispy Kreme's 'Four Days of Glaze' Deal Is Here, Former Royal Chef Is *Not* Here for 'The Crown'. If you’re concerned with having the best possible indoor air quality environment in your home, burning candles can pose some challenges to this mission. It turns out that the one bad study everyone is relying on to make their case is not particularly trust-worthy, “It’s not bad science it’s non-science,” said Harrington. GET YOUR OILS STARTER KIT: http://bit.ly/2hl0P9j THUMBS UP & SUBSCRIBE! If you are going to burn candles, the best options are to find ones made from: 1) Beeswax 2) Organic Soy 3) Coconut wax. Lead is a lesser concern since it was banned by the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) in 2000. These can impact those with breathing disorders such as … Burning candles can be bad for the environment in a number of ways. When you light a candle by holding a flame to the wick, heat melts the wax at the top of the candle. “Lead wicks have been banned in the United States for almost two decades. Some scholars contend that no level of lead is safe and even tiny amounts of lead exposure are dangerous. When humans started making candles thousands of years ago, they used animal fat, plants or insects. Another point of contention when it comes to candles and their effects on health is whether or not they release harmful particulate matter into the air—and this is where Nolen definitely feels that candles can be harmful. But for people that can be sensitive to their byproducts, scented candles may not be right for your household. Other Yankee Candle Products. They have a large selection of soy-based candles scented with essential oils and these can be better than paraffin and artificially scented candles, but you’ll need to make your selection carefully as Bath and Body Works sells paraffin candles as well. While in the past, wicks were made with lead in order to make the wick stiffer, lead wicks were officially outlawed by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2003. It releases carcinogenic chemicals when burned. Ensure that you are circulating air by opening windows and maintaining your ventilation system at all times. I used to ask a question in my mind that ‘Are candles bad for health or not’ whenever i went to a birthday party or stuff. If you like to burn candles solely for the aromatherapy and to add fragrance to a room, you can swap out the candle for a diffuser. According to Nolen these candles emit the type of particle pollution that could contribute to these dangerous side effects. The caveat with scented candles is that while the fragrance itself may be safe, it can cause problems for certain populations. Once the risks of lead became apparent, the candle industry voluntarily agreed to remove lead from its wicks. But you may also be wondering if scented candles are bad for you. Another point that Nolen brings up is the fact that candles emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), chemicals that may be harmful on their own or interact with other chemicals in the air to produce harmful compounds. If candles are bad for you, there are many years of anecdotal evidence to suggest the opposite. People have burned candles for centuries and no strong studies or science has convincingly proven their danger to human health. At this point one of the few ways you could end up with a lead-core wick candle is if you imported one that wasn’t governed by these regulations but even then the chances are slim as there are National Candle Association (NCA) equivalents worldwide ensuring the safety of candles. There’s no way that apple-pie and fresh vanilla ice cream scent doesn’t contain carcinogens right? For many people, there is nothing quite like winding down after a long day with a hot drink and a few scented candles. The evidence does indicate that there are dangers associated with pollutants that result from burning candles (and incense), although how much damage can be caused (and by which candles) … Candles work when you light the wick, which is the string sticking out of the end of the candle. As with nearly anything that burns, candles release particulate matter. Every item on this page was hand-picked by a House Beautiful editor. At the end of the day, you will need to make a balance between using scented candles and the potential occupants that may occupy that space. Most scented candles are made of paraffin wax, but there is a burgeoning market for alternative candles made of vegetable or beeswax. Many companies that make beeswax candles are smaller, independently run shops such as Cheeky Bee. If you’re finding yourself inclined to reduce the amount of particulate matter in your environment but can’t seem to put the candles away the best thing you can do is reduce the amount of time you burn them. The respiratory and nervous systems of these smaller beings are especially sensitive to external toxins. Second of all, make sure that your home is properly ventilated during and after burning the scented candles. If you are concerned, we would suggest that you light up the candles again after pregnancy. Particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, and lead are especially troublesome for small children and pets. As for adding smells to your home, there is also an electric solution in the form of electric room diffusers. So unless you are concerned about the PM or VOCs in your home you’re good to let them burn. Some throw up nasty chemicals when burning. Orchard Harvest all natural candles are hand-poured and made from soy, palm, and vegetable waxes with no petroleum or paraffin ingredients. Well it turns out that’s not as bad as some writers would have you believe either. What Is PM 2.5 and How Can You Reduce Your Exposure? Look out for aromatherapy candles made of paraffin—a petroleum byproduct—which releases … The soot/fumes are similar to that released from a diesel engine and can be as dangerous as second-hand cigarette smoke. The Candles Your Favorite Celebrities Are Burning, Cure Your Homesickness With These State Candles, You Need These Hocus Pocus Candles on Your Mantel, These Harry Potter Candles Are Everything. Scented candles, because of all of the extra ingredients added to give them their smell, release higher rates of particulate matter. Research has shown that burning certain types of candles can create emissions, or air pollutants, that are harmful to human health. It won’t pull all the pollutants out, but it’s better than doing nothing. The Yankee Candle Company, though known mostly for scented candles, makes a small number of other products. You can also try your luck at farmer’s markets to find beeswax candles from local makers, or even consider making your own at home with beeswax candle making kits that can easily be found online or local hobby shops. Similarly, a study sponsored by international candle organizations — including the U.S.-based National Candle Association — compared paraffin wax, soy wax, palm wax, and beeswax candles and determined that they all burned similarly and safely. While lighting a paraffin candle once in a whilewon’t noticeably affect you, paraffin candles are more likely to emit toxic fumes. You also want to make sure it has a cotton wick. One important point to remember: while beeswax and soy candles release fewer volatile organic compounds than paraffin candles, burning them still releases particulate matter. Additionally, burning scented candles create a wide variety of volatile organic compounds, which are a family of chemicals which include things like formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. The surprise is how much extra pollution they create when they are extinguished. To give you some background, candles are usually made from paraffin wax or soy wax, both of which are solids that act as the fuel for candle flame. Blowing out a candle and remaining close to that scent – close enough to inhale it – sometimes causes nausea, dizziness and headaches. According to these writers many of the candles that people purchase are made with wicks made of lead that when lit can release seriously harmful (and carcinogenic) chemicals into your home. A luxury candle checklist. C… Scented candles are also beloved as ornamental flourishes for the home, especially during the holiday season. Beeswax candles will effectively reduce allergies, asthma, and hay fever and will not contribute to the release of contaminants into the air like other candles. Today, they are made from soy, beeswax, or, most commonly, paraffin wax. So OK, one study was not reliable, that doesn’t mean wax is in the clear right? If you’re using scented candles to mask other smells, consider deodorizing your home with baking soda instead. It’s made from soy wax using high-grade braided cotton wicks and burns for up to 50 hours. It helped the wick stay upright as it burned. Not just fragrance, but candles made from petroleum/paraffin emit toxic fumes into your home! In my recent searching through the web I came across an article made me stop my scrolling and actually pay attention, “Are Your Candles Toxic?” read the headline. Scented paraffin wax candles are the most common type of candle sold. Thank you for “clearing the air” But seriously, yes this nonsensical mess about which candles burn cleaner is dizzying. According to Harrington (and my research) there’s no scientific basis for these claims that paraffin, or soy, or any other sort of wax could be harmful when burned. So yes, candles do produce PM and VOCs, both of which have been found to be harmful to health, but as Nolen pointed out, the issue may not lie in the burning of candles themselves but rather in how long you’re burning them. They are an essential part of any #selfcare routine, but experts say your love of scented candles could be harming the environment and causing you … “ I’m not saying don’t put candles on your kids birthday cake, but don’t think of them as a benign thing if you’re having them burning for hours on end in your home,” she said. One of the internet’s most frequently asked candle related questions is… are scented candles bad for you.Like everything in this world there is the good the bad and the better, that includes what goes into your favorite scented candles. “Candles are something that people perceive as being benign and it’s important to realize that they are not benign,” she said. However, it’s not that candles are the only source of particle pollution in your home but rather that they can become an added source that isn’t essential for your everyday life. The biggest health risk associated with scented candles is the lead contained in the wicks of some brands. When Air Pollution Gets Worse: 10 Tips to Protect Yourself, Air Quality: Other Pollutants Beyond Particulate Matter (PM), The design-obsessed gift guide (or how to add some design into your life), Molekule-Approved Gifts for Expecting Parents. Christmas Tree Allergies: How to Deal With Them. The main culprit in this research: scented paraffin wax candles. However, this study has been called into question by the NCA particularly because it was never published in a journal and peer reviewed. Paraffin is a soft, colorless byproduct of petroleum, a liquid found beneath the earth’s surface that can be turned into fuel. If you love scented candles too much to discard them completely, you can take some actions to limit scented candles impact to your indoor air. Candles are not bad for you. Beeswax candles, due to the fact that they are more expensive and difficult to make, have not caught onto the same level of popularity as conventional or soy wax candles. A lot of candles say “lead free”, but that’s not enough. Your curiosity may have started after seeing the ingredients list on your candles or wondering about the effect burning candles have on indoor air quality. There are three major materials that makeup candles today. Candles give off particulate air pollution and VOC’s both of which are proven to be bad for your health. So, I felt owning while reading your article. I read the article, and then another, and another—all warning me that my candles were ruining my life. If you must use an actual candle, try beeswax or soy candles. You can get more creative as well, such as using things like potpourri, fresh flowers, and boiling citrus peels in water. Bath and Body Works is a huge chain and has become well-known for its three wick scented candles. Additionally, it’s a good idea to make sure you properly ventilate whenever you do burn candles. Lead is especially dangerous, as it is known to cause severe developmental problems in children. The biggest issue with candles are toxic wax and, in the case of older candles, toxic wicks. Well, again, wrong. Scented candles are of particular concern since, as we mentioned earlier, they release potentially toxic volatile organic compounds without even being burnt. The candles you’re burning could be emitting air pollutants that are bad for you and bad for your home. Here are some alternatives to consider instead of burning scented candles. But we constantly hear that candles have lead wicks and we want people to understand that that is not the case, it hasn’t been for years and years,” Rob Harrington, Ph.D., a toxicologist with the National Candle Association. Alongside wood and coal burning stoves, and indoor non-compliant fire places, candles are a major source of indoor pollution that can cause a worsening of … First, you should consider beeswax based scented candles, which burn “cleaner” than alternatives and release a lower amount of pollutants. All of these candles are made of paraffin, which may not contain the most ideal candle ingredient available as referenced above. So I decided that before I threw out all my lovely (and expensive) candles I should do some proper investigating to address all the internet claims that claim candles are a silent killer. The components of the candle are the primary source of environmental problems. However, people on … On the more serious side, volatile organic compounds have been linked to damage to vital organs, including the liver, kidney and central nervous system. The candles at Yankee Candle is non-toxic and safe for use. Which Candles Are Bad? Why you should NOT use ear candles Ear Candling is a practice that alternative medicine practitioners claim will remove unwanted ear wax, impurities and toxins from the ear. OK, so the wick is fine, but what about the big chunk of wax that is the actual candle? If you want to use candles, use a beeswax version and if you want a scent then put some fresh, wildcrafted 100% pure essential oils in an ultrasonic diffuser and your health with thank you. And if you are concerned, Nolen recommends electric candles for ambiance. If you have candles in your attic from before 2003 and you’re worried those could have lead in them, they probably don’t given that National Candle Association members voluntarily agreed to not use lead wicks in 1974 (and yes, Yankee Candle is a member). Some scented candles release amounts of volatile organic compounds which are far above safe limits and don’t even need to be lit to release these compounds. There’s some debate about whether burning candles is bad for your health. House Beautiful participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. Thank you so much for letting us know about it. It is also alleged to contribute to a greater sense of well-being as well as enhanced physical and mental health. First on the list is Bath and Body Works candles. On one side of the health effects, volatile organic compounds can cause irritation and allergic reactions. The main culprits behind the health risks in scented candle smoke are particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and lead. To summarize, candles are no longer made with lead-core wicks, their wax is non-toxic, and you don’t need to feel bad for enjoying their delicious scents (unless you have asthma or allergies). But if you’re if you’re still not convinced that you can light your candles, there’s a simple way to see if they’re safe. Even if you have gotten rid of all your candles that had lead wicks these candles are still not safe due to the wax that is being used. Rob agrees, yes candles do release particulate matter, and yes they do release VOCs but there’s no indication that the PM and VOCs coming from candles are any worse than what you would find just taking a stroll outside. Yes, some are bad for you. For those that want to recreate the ambiance of a candle glow, many electric candles can appear very realistic and offer similar lighting. If it’s been a while since you took an environmental science class, let me break particulate matter (PM) down for you. The Tumbler candles are made from a blend of aforementioned paraffin wax and soy wax. One of the main hazards that bloggers cite when talking about candles are the wicks—lead wicks to be exact. Candle soot is also chemically different from soot produced by burning diesel, coal, and gasoline. Now in liquid form, the wax seeps into the wick and begins to burn on its own. Choosing a safe candle is an easy task-if you know where to look. Candle smoke or "soot" is the carbon created from incomplete combustion. When these little tiny particles get into our lungs they can cause everything from coughing and wheezing to acute health issues like heart attacks or stroke. I was aghast, never in my wildest dreams did I even imagine that my beloved Anthropologie candles could be poisoning me while they filled my home with lovely hints of vanilla and peaches. Claim 2: Candle wax is made from harmful chemicals that are released when burned. Paraffin is derived from petroleum and made up of straight-chain hydrocarbons, which combust to produce a dark soot that can get into linens, stain walls, and lead to respiratory problems. Paraffin and Synthetic free. These are all valid concerns and we’ll be addressing these and more in our article below. As the wax burns, the flame on the wick continually melts the candle and draws fresh liquid wax into its fibers. Beeswax and soy candles, in comparison to paraffin candles, are the more advantageous choices when it comes to selecting a candle that will be safer for your health and your air quality. Paraffin candles, for example, produce a number of byproducts when they are burned, including greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. Writers often cite a 2009 study by South Carolina State University researchers that claimed that paraffin wax releases harmful chemicals such as toluene. This doesn’t mean we should blindly accept and trust an industry as the sole source of truth on any matter. Candle soot can damage property, but has not been shown to have any adverse health effects. Rub white paper on the wick of an un-burnt candle, if the wick leaves a gray pencil-like mark there’s lead in it, if there’s no gray you’re good to go. Despite this, studies have found 8 percent of brands still include lead in the manufacturing of their candles. Some people claim that candles release potentially harmful toxins. Let’s take a look at a few popular scented candle brands and assess their health risk potential. 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