The pollutant: Candles
Sure, they make for a cozy ambiance, but when you light one made from paraffin–as most candles are–you’re potentially harming your health. Researchers at South Carolina State University found that paraffin candles emit chemicals that are linked to liver damage, neurological problems, and leukemia. They can also release a black soot that, over time, may damage your lung and heart tissue, says Jeffrey May, an expert on indoor air quality and author of My House Is Killing Me: The Home Guide for Families with Allergies and Asthma.
The solution: Choose cleaner mood lighting in the form of electric votives, or buy 100 percent soy candles, which can burn at a slower rate and emit less soot. If you can’t avoid burning paraffin, do so only occasionally and in a draft-free area. And cut out the heavily fragranced jar-style versions, says May; they produce more soot.