Ultravation News and Information Center

Improving Your Indoor Air Quality: Are Scented Candles Putting Your Health At Risk?

When we think of pollutants in our indoor air we think of cooking smoke, airborne pollen, cleaning product VOCs, dust build-up, or cigarette smoke – not the lovely fragrances created by scented candles. But what actually makes those candles smell so nice? Many candle companies use synthetic chemicals to create those aromas, simply writing “fragrance” on their list of ingredients, with no further explanation. That’s worrisome. Not to mention that phthalates – the chemicals used to make scents last longer – have been linked to birth defects and other reproductive problems, according to the EPA.

And it doesn’t stop at fragrances. The wick of a scented candle can also be a pollution culprit. Some cheap, illegally made candles have a lead-core wick, which can release up to five times the level of lead pollution considered hazardous. Candles made out of paraffin wax are also dangerous because paraffin is a byproduct of petroleum. The soot that paraffin candles create is bad for both your health and for your home. It will accumulate on walls and other surfaces, invade your electronics and appliances gumming up their inner workings, and most importantly get inside the body, irritate the lungs and potentially cause other health issues, as well.

It is important to know that not every manufacturer out there upholds the same standards for their products, so be wary! So what to do, especially if you really enjoy using candles? There are plenty of reputable candle companies that abide by the rules and regulations for health and safety. If you’d like to minimize potential health complications, be sure to use natural wax candles, like those made with bee- or vegetable-based waxes. It pays to shop smart and stay healthy!


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