The Health Concerns of Burning Commercially Scented Candles
Burning candles can be such a comforting experience and their beautiful illumination is captivating! They light up dark places and their flame is so intriguing as it flickers and glows, along with their fragrant aroma bringing such a homey feel to our homes.
Now the down side, unfortunately…if you’re burning store bought scented candles, these sources of wonder and beauty can be bringing along with them some real health concerns. I know this is upsetting to hear but I want to make sure you are informed and educated about health and wellness regarding every aspect of our bodies and minds, and that also goes for the air we are breathing. Air pollution is a real concern today in the world we live in and while we might not be able to totally control the outdoor air, we can control the air quality in our own homes.
I always wondered years ago, why I would get short of breath when a scented candle was burning in someone’s home I was visiting. Because of this, I never used to burn candles in my home until I found out about beeswax candles. I’ll tell you more about that later in this article.
So, what are the health concerns for us regarding candles? First of all, most candles today are made with paraffin wax, which is a product of petroleum. When any source of petroleum is burned, the released toxins are similar to those found in diesel fumes. Benzene and toluene are two major toxins that get released into the atmosphere when we are burning these types of candles. These two toxins alone have been known to cause damage to the brain, lung, and central nervous system.
The artificial scents emitting from these already noxious candles further complicates their already toxic profile. These artificial fragrances and scents are made from chemicals, such as; Acetone, Trichlorofluoromethane, Carbon Disulfide, 2-Butanone, Trichloroethene, Carbon Tetrachloride, Styrene, Xylene, Cresol, Cyclopentene, and many more…These chemicals have been found in varnish remover, lacquer, and paint.
Along with the artificially scented fragrances and the paraffin wax, comes the candle wicks themselves. Candle wicks are meant to be made with paper and cotton but up to 30% of them today have been shown to be made with heavy metals, including lead. These metals are used to make candle wicks firmer. These candles are a combination of chemicals, heavy metals, and toxic fumes polluting our air.
What can we do?
To prevent health concerns and air pollution in our homes, we can replace these scented candles with beeswax candles. Beeswax candles actually work to purify our air instead of polluting it. Beeswax emits negative ions when it burns. Negative ions are effective at reducing mold, dander, and dust that might be floating around in the air we breathe. Beeswax candles are also a great choice for those dealing with allergies and/or chemical sensitivities. 'If you would like a resource to purchase beeswax candles scented with essential oils, here is a link:
Click here for a Pumpkin Spice candle recipe using 100% beeswax and essential oils: