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Why Burning Scented Candles Could Be Hazardous To Your Health
Scented candles made with paraffin wax can have a negative impact on air quality, because they emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The EPA defines a VOC as “any compound of carbon — excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides or carbonates and ammonium carbonate — which participates in atmospheric photochemical reactions.”
Inexpensive candles also typically use synthetic fragrances to make them smell good. The problem is that they are made of potentially harmful chemicals, including formaldehyde, alcohol, and esters, and these synthetic fragrances can cause unwanted health reactions.
"There's conflicting evidence in the literature addressing the question of toxicity in candles," says Mary Brummitt, N.P., a primary care provider from One Medical. Many studies show that, when used under normal circumstances, scented candles don't pose a significant health risk.
It's important to use moderation when burning candles. "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," says chemistry professor Ruhullah Massoudi.