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Toxins Found in Candles: What to Avoid to Keep Your Family Safe & Indoor Air Quality in Check

October 12, 2020

Candles are great for setting a relaxing scene, covering up pet smell or any other bad smell, and of course, for a little extra lighting especially when the power goes out. Particularly in the fall and winter months, burning candles is a way to make your home cozy, inviting, and smelling great while we’re all indoors. Unfortunately, many candles also release chemicals and toxins into the air you breathe. If you love burning candles, pay attention to what’s in your favorite candles and also ensure your air filters are being replaced every 1-3 months to keep the air in your home clean and fresh.

Many candles contain all kinds of chemicals to create the specific scent or fragrance you enjoy when they’re burning. Each time you burn a candle, you’re releasing the ingredients that go into creating an added scent (chemicals and fake fragrances) into the air and breathing it in. Just because the air smells good, doesn't mean it's clean. Just like any other kind of smoke, breathing in the air with candles burning nearby is not healthy and can lead to many health issues if you’re exposed constantly over time.

Any burning substance creates soot which is not only bad for your home and your walls, but bad for your lungs as well. The chemicals and the soot that you’re breathing in from candles burning in your home are so small that they cannot be seen and can contribute to health issues including asthma, respiratory problems, and can even be carcinogenic. These carcinogens include but are not limited to benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein. The soot that escapes into the air when burning candles stays in the air, on the walls, on your furniture, etc. The best ways to avoid a buildup of soot and keep the air quality in your home in check is to avoid certain chemicals and ingredients in your candles and replace the air filters in your home consistently.

Not all candles are emitting toxins and a cause of health issues. It’s important to pay attention to what your candle is made of. The biggest thing to look out for when purchasing candles to burn in your home, is the synthetic fragrances.

What to buy/what to look for in candles to keep your indoor air quality in check:

  • Scent 100% made with all-natural essential oils
  • Candle made with 100% soy or beeswax
  • Cotton or wooden wicks

What to avoid in candles to keep your indoor air quality in check:

  • Artificially scented candles/the word ‘fragrance’
  • Paraffin wax candles - cause of indoor air pollution
  • Candles with a small mouth opening
  • Letting the wick get too long - that can contribute to more soot and chemicals being released into the air

Before buying your next candles for these fall and winter seasons, check what the candle is made of first. Limiting candle burning to just a few hours each day can help limit your exposure and getting an air purifier can help to rid the air of these toxins so you can still enjoy your candles. These days, more than ever, it’s important to keep yourself and your family safe! That includes removing toxic chemicals from your air and to make sure to replace your air filters every 1-3 months.


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