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. 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. While lighting a paraffin candle once in a whilewon’t noticeably affect you, paraffin candles are more likely to emit toxic fumes. Despite this, studies have found 8 percent of brands still include lead in the manufacturing of their candles. There are three major materials that makeup candles today. The candles at Yankee Candle is non-toxic and safe for use. Burning candles can be bad for the environment in a number of ways. It releases carcinogenic chemicals when burned. 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. If they contain harmful and volatile ingredients like paraffin wax. Thank you for “clearing the air” But seriously, yes this nonsensical mess about which candles burn cleaner is dizzying. 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. It is also alleged to contribute to a greater sense of well-being as well as enhanced physical and mental health. Limited information is given about Here are some alternatives to consider instead of burning scented candles. Most scented candles are made of paraffin wax, but there is a burgeoning market for alternative candles made of vegetable or beeswax. Second of all, make sure that your home is properly ventilated during and after burning the scented candles. 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). However, some candles can release particulates that include toxins and carcinogens. On one side of the health effects, volatile organic compounds can cause irritation and allergic reactions. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. 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. Not just fragrance, but candles made from petroleum/paraffin emit toxic fumes into your home! Candles work when you light the wick, which is the string sticking out of the end of the candle. Another popular brand of scented candles is Yankee Candles. Blended with essential oils or premium grade fresh & earth fragrances, these candles have cotton wicks, are soot-free, and are eco-friendly. To ensure that you are getting lead-free candles, make sure to check for labels indicating that the wick is 100% cotton and that you are purchasing your candles from a source you trust. You can also consider using an air purifier such as Molekule, which can destroy harmful chemicals and filter particulate matter. Paraffin and Synthetic free. OK, so the wick is fine, and the wax is harmless, but what about the fragrance in scented candles? As the wax burns, the flame on the wick continually melts the candle and draws fresh liquid wax into its fibers. 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. Bath and Body Works is a huge chain and has become well-known for its three wick scented candles. And if you are concerned, Nolen recommends electric candles for ambiance. 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. Scented candles are also beloved as ornamental flourishes for the home, especially during the holiday season. 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 … You can get more creative as well, such as using things like potpourri, fresh flowers, and boiling citrus peels in water. Christmas Tree Allergies: How to Deal With Them. Every item on this page was hand-picked by a House Beautiful editor. Lead is a lesser concern since it was banned by the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) in 2000. When you light a candle by holding a flame to the wick, heat melts the wax at the top of the candle. 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. Today, they are made from soy, beeswax, or, most commonly, paraffin wax. This doesn’t mean we should blindly accept and trust an industry as the sole source of truth on any matter. Choosing a safe candle is an easy task-if you know where to look. 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. Scented candles, because of all of the extra ingredients added to give them their smell, release higher rates of particulate matter. 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. 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. Research has shown that burning certain types of candles can create emissions, or air pollutants, that are harmful to human health. Candle smoke or "soot" is the carbon created from incomplete combustion. The main culprits behind the health risks in scented candle smoke are particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and lead. 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. 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. PM refers to solid and liquid particles that are in the air we breathe, the smallest of which can go past our bodies natural defense systems and into our lungs. “ 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. Scented paraffin wax candles are the most common type of candle sold. Well, again, wrong. There’s no way that apple-pie and fresh vanilla ice cream scent doesn’t contain carcinogens right? 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. Orchard Harvest all natural candles are hand-poured and made from soy, palm, and vegetable waxes with no petroleum or paraffin ingredients. Scented candles are a huge source of indoor air pollution. The main culprit in this research: scented paraffin wax candles. The resulting smoke creates millions of ultra fine particles which remain in the air for several hours for you … So, I felt owning while reading your article. GET YOUR OILS STARTER KIT: http://bit.ly/2hl0P9j THUMBS UP & SUBSCRIBE! 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. One of the main hazards that bloggers cite when talking about candles are the wicks—lead wicks to be exact. If it’s been a while since you took an environmental science class, let me break particulate matter (PM) down for you. A luxury candle checklist. There’s some debate about whether burning candles is bad for your health. It’s made from soy wax using high-grade braided cotton wicks and burns for up to 50 hours. It won’t pull all the pollutants out, but it’s better than doing nothing. 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. 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 … Now in liquid form, the wax seeps into the wick and begins to burn on its own. 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. 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. On the more serious side, volatile organic compounds have been linked to damage to vital organs, including the liver, kidney and central nervous system. If you’re using scented candles to mask other smells, consider deodorizing your home with baking soda instead. Candle soot is also chemically different from soot produced by burning diesel, coal, and gasoline. 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. Lead is especially dangerous, as it is known to cause severe developmental problems in children. 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. Ensure that you are circulating air by opening windows and maintaining your ventilation system at all times. The respiratory and nervous systems of these smaller beings are especially sensitive to external toxins. Yes, some are bad for you. People have burned candles for centuries and no strong studies or science has convincingly proven their danger to human health. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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'. 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. Scented Candles = More Indoor Air Pollution. For those that want to recreate the ambiance of a candle glow, many electric candles can appear very realistic and offer similar lighting. Claim 2: Candle wax is made from harmful chemicals that are released when burned. 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. 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. Well it turns out that’s not as bad as some writers would have you believe either. 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. Some people claim that candles release potentially harmful toxins. 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. Blowing out a candle and remaining close to that scent – close enough to inhale it – sometimes causes nausea, dizziness and headaches. Which Candles Are Bad? What Makes Candles So Bad Paraffin is the major ingredient in most conventional candles and is a sludge waste product from the petroleum industry. 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. That, however is not quite true. 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. Sadly, the bad news about scented candles doesn’t stop there. These are all valid concerns and we’ll be addressing these and more in our article below. Well, nothing else has really come up to make us think otherwise. It may be shocking to think that your favorite candles could potentially be bad for you, and made worse by added fragrances. However, this study has been called into question by the NCA particularly because it was never published in a journal and peer reviewed. 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). But you may also be wondering if scented candles are bad for you. What Is PM 2.5 and How Can You Reduce Your Exposure? I am considering candle making and have been reading article after article and understand what you say: burning candles pollutes the indoor air, period. If candles are bad for you, there are many years of anecdotal evidence to suggest the opposite. 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. Some scholars contend that no level of lead is safe and even tiny amounts of lead exposure are dangerous. Let’s take a look at a few popular scented candle brands and assess their health risk potential. I am going to use Beeswax candles. 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 OK, one study was not reliable, that doesn’t mean wax is in the clear right? If you must use an actual candle, try beeswax or soy candles. Beeswax or soy candles. 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. When humans started making candles thousands of years ago, they used animal fat, plants or insects. Once the risks of lead became apparent, the candle industry voluntarily agreed to remove lead from its wicks. 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 was routinely used in the manufacture of candle wicks for decades. The Tumbler candles are made from a blend of aforementioned paraffin wax and soy wax. 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. Paraffin is a soft, colorless byproduct of petroleum, a liquid found beneath the earth’s surface that can be turned into fuel. Candles are not bad for you. Many companies that make beeswax candles are smaller, independently run shops such as Cheeky Bee. 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. A lot of candles say “lead free”, but that’s not enough. Candles give off particulate air pollution and VOC’s both of which are proven to be bad for your health. Writers often cite a 2009 study by South Carolina State University researchers that claimed that paraffin wax releases harmful chemicals such as toluene. Other Yankee Candle Products. Among these are antibacterial hand soaps, sanitizers and lip balms. As with nearly anything that burns, candles release particulate matter. Also, thanks for letting us know how we can make candles ourselves. 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 … The wax, as fuel for the flame, combusts and becomes smoke, carbon dioxide, water, and a few other substances in the air. 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. Additionally, it’s a good idea to make sure you properly ventilate whenever you do burn candles. 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. Candles can be a source of lung irritation. “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. The surprise is how much extra pollution they create when they are extinguished. If you are concerned, we would suggest that you light up the candles again after pregnancy. If you must use scented candles for special occasions and holiday parties, you should consider improving your indoor air ventilation and filtration. So unless you are concerned about the PM or VOCs in your home you’re good to let them burn. Candle soot can damage property, but has not been shown to have any adverse health effects. “Candles are something that people perceive as being benign and it’s important to realize that they are not benign,” she said. 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. If you are using candles in a normal way in a well-ventilated area, they are unlikely to affect your health. 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. 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. 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