Lead is a lesser concern since it was banned by the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) in 2000. 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) … 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. “Candles are something that people perceive as being benign and it’s important to realize that they are not benign,” she said. The main culprit in this research: scented paraffin wax candles. The highest amount of particulate matter is released once the candle is blown out and visible smoke is rising from the wick. While lighting a paraffin candle once in a whilewon’t noticeably affect you, paraffin candles are more likely to emit toxic fumes. Let’s take a look at a few popular scented candle brands and assess their health risk potential. 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. Limited information is given about Bath and Body Works is a huge chain and has become well-known for its three wick scented candles. What Is PM 2.5 and How Can You Reduce Your Exposure? People have burned candles for centuries and no strong studies or science has convincingly proven their danger to human health. Other Yankee Candle Products. If they contain harmful and volatile ingredients like paraffin wax. The candles you’re burning could be emitting air pollutants that are bad for you and bad for your home. 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. Orchard Harvest all natural candles are hand-poured and made from soy, palm, and vegetable waxes with no petroleum or paraffin ingredients. So unless you are concerned about the PM or VOCs in your home you’re good to let them burn. Yes, some are bad for you. The respiratory and nervous systems of these smaller beings are especially sensitive to external toxins. The candles at Yankee Candle is non-toxic and safe for use. 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). I am considering candle making and have been reading article after article and understand what you say: burning candles pollutes the indoor air, period. You also want to make sure it has a cotton wick. Some people claim that candles release potentially harmful toxins. Paraffin and Synthetic free. Paraffin is a soft, colorless byproduct of petroleum, a liquid found beneath the earth’s surface that can be turned into fuel. “Lead wicks have been banned in the United States for almost two decades. Candles give off particulate air pollution and VOC’s both of which are proven to be bad for your health. If you are going to burn candles, the best options are to find ones made from: 1) Beeswax 2) Organic Soy 3) Coconut wax. It is also alleged to contribute to a greater sense of well-being as well as enhanced physical and mental health. Most scented candles are made of paraffin wax, but there is a burgeoning market for alternative candles made of vegetable or beeswax. 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. There’s some debate about whether burning candles is bad for your health. 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. 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. 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. Candles are not bad for you. 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. 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. The components of the candle are the primary source of environmental problems. 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. If it’s been a while since you took an environmental science class, let me break particulate matter (PM) down for you. Steinemann said for some people, the effects are "immediate, acute and severe," while others may not realize they are … Today, they are made from soy, beeswax, or, most commonly, paraffin wax. The wax, as fuel for the flame, combusts and becomes smoke, carbon dioxide, water, and a few other substances in the air. I am going to use Beeswax candles. One important point to remember: while beeswax and soy candles release fewer volatile organic compounds than paraffin candles, burning them still releases particulate matter. Among these are antibacterial hand soaps, sanitizers and lip balms. 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. One of the main hazards that bloggers cite when talking about candles are the wicks—lead wicks to be exact. But for people that can be sensitive to their byproducts, scented candles may not be right for your household. Well it turns out that’s not as bad as some writers would have you believe either. 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. It’s made from soy wax using high-grade braided cotton wicks and burns for up to 50 hours. I read the article, and then another, and another—all warning me that my candles were ruining my life. If you’re using scented candles to mask other smells, consider deodorizing your home with baking soda instead. Here are some alternatives to consider instead of burning scented candles. 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. 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 … 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. The soot/fumes are similar to that released from a diesel engine and can be as dangerous as second-hand cigarette smoke. 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. Now in liquid form, the wax seeps into the wick and begins to burn on its own. Look out for aromatherapy candles made of paraffin—a petroleum byproduct—which releases … All of these candles are made of paraffin, which may not contain the most ideal candle ingredient available as referenced above. 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. There are three major materials that makeup candles today. According to Nolen these candles emit the type of particle pollution that could contribute to these dangerous side effects. You can get more creative as well, such as using things like potpourri, fresh flowers, and boiling citrus peels in water. Candles work when you light the wick, which is the string sticking out of the end of the candle. Candle soot can damage property, but has not been shown to have any adverse health effects. If you are using candles in a normal way in a well-ventilated area, they are unlikely to affect your health. As for adding smells to your home, there is also an electric solution in the form of electric room diffusers. So OK, one study was not reliable, that doesn’t mean wax is in the clear right? Claim 2: Candle wax is made from harmful chemicals that are released when burned. Scented Candles = More Indoor Air Pollution. Beeswax or soy candles. 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. 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. 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. Lead was routinely used in the manufacture of candle wicks for decades. 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. 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. These are all valid concerns and we’ll be addressing these and more in our article below. 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. Best wishes for you Candle smoke or "soot" is the carbon created from incomplete combustion. Which Candles Are Bad? 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 main culprits behind the health risks in scented candle smoke are particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and lead. Despite this, studies have found 8 percent of brands still include lead in the manufacturing of their candles. 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. 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. Because of this, you should still keep in mind that they aren’t completely free from impacting your indoor air. First, you should consider beeswax based scented candles, which burn “cleaner” than alternatives and release a lower amount of pollutants. 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. It helped the wick stay upright as it burned. Scented candles are a huge source of indoor air pollution. While some scents can have aromatherapeutic benefits, many of the scents contained within candles are artificial organic compounds and not always healthy. The resulting smoke creates millions of ultra fine particles which remain in the air for several hours for you … We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy. Blowing out a candle and remaining close to that scent – close enough to inhale it – sometimes causes nausea, dizziness and headaches. However, people on … Christmas Tree Allergies: How to Deal With Them. 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. Burning candles can be bad for the environment in a number of ways. 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). There’s no way that apple-pie and fresh vanilla ice cream scent doesn’t contain carcinogens right? Many companies that make beeswax candles are smaller, independently run shops such as Cheeky Bee. 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. 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. First on the list is Bath and Body Works candles. Sadly, the bad news about scented candles doesn’t stop there. On the more serious side, volatile organic compounds have been linked to damage to vital organs, including the liver, kidney and central nervous system. Paraffin candles, for example, produce a number of byproducts when they are burned, including greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. 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. Once the risks of lead became apparent, the candle industry voluntarily agreed to remove lead from its wicks. 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. If you still need your candle fix but want to avoid phthalates altogether, try these DIY candles that incorporate essential oils into the wax mixture: This content is imported from YouTube. 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. On one side of the health effects, volatile organic compounds can cause irritation and allergic reactions. 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. Also, thanks for letting us know how we can make candles ourselves. The surprise is how much extra pollution they create when they are extinguished. 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. These can impact those with breathing disorders such as … Thank you so much for letting us know about it. It may be shocking to think that your favorite candles could potentially be bad for you, and made worse by added fragrances. 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. 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. For those that want to recreate the ambiance of a candle glow, many electric candles can appear very realistic and offer similar lighting. The Yankee Candle Company, though known mostly for scented candles, makes a small number of other products. 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. When you light a candle by holding a flame to the wick, heat melts the wax at the top of the candle. The main culprits behind the health risks in scented candle smoke are particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and lead. Scented paraffin wax candles are the most common type of candle sold. 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. The biggest health risk associated with scented candles is the lead contained in the wicks of some brands. This doesn’t mean we should blindly accept and trust an industry as the sole source of truth on any matter. 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. Every item on this page was hand-picked by a House Beautiful editor. 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. However, some candles can release particulates that include toxins and carcinogens. It releases carcinogenic chemicals when burned. 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. 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). If you must use scented candles for special occasions and holiday parties, you should consider improving your indoor air ventilation and filtration. And if you are concerned, Nolen recommends electric candles for ambiance. 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. 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'. Well, again, wrong. However, this study has been called into question by the NCA particularly because it was never published in a journal and peer reviewed. You can also consider using an air purifier such as Molekule, which can destroy harmful chemicals and filter particulate matter. Scented candles are popular and can often be a part of home decor and even your daily routines. 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 … So, I felt owning while reading your article. 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. Candle soot is also chemically different from soot produced by burning diesel, coal, and gasoline. GET YOUR OILS STARTER KIT: http://bit.ly/2hl0P9j THUMBS UP & SUBSCRIBE! As the wax burns, the flame on the wick continually melts the candle and draws fresh liquid wax into its fibers. Candles can be a source of lung irritation. When humans started making candles thousands of years ago, they used animal fat, plants or insects. Additionally, it’s a good idea to make sure you properly ventilate whenever you do burn candles. 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