Which Candles Emit Carcinogens?

As the days start their slow climb toward the winter solstice I always find myself lighting more and more candles to compensate for the diminishing sunlight. I love the warmth and flicker of light they can infuse a room with, rooms otherwise flat by the increasingly muted autumn and winter skies. Yet while candles can create a lovely mood, some types also create toxic emissions that are hardly worth the ambiance.

The candle culprits? Paraffin wax candles. These candles, which are made from petroleum, are a source of known human carcinogens and indoor pollution, researchers said in a study presented last month at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting in Washington, D.C. In the study, R. Massoudi and Amid Hamidi found that candles made from beeswax or soy, although more expensive, are safer because they do not release potentially harmful pollutants.

“An occasional paraffin candle and its emissions will not likely affect you,” Hamidi said in a news release from the American Chemical Society. “But lighting many paraffin candles every day for years or lighting them frequently in an unventilated bathroom around a tub, for example, may cause problems.” Hamidi also said that some people who believe they have an indoor allergy or respiratory irritation may actually be reacting to pollutants from burning candles. They noted that ventilation can help reduce the level of pollutants in closed rooms–but I say, better yet: switch to a healthier alternative!

Next: fragrance and your best bet

Another part of the healthy candle discussion is centered around fragrance–synthetic fragrance, by which the majority of candles are made fragrant by. A study performed by the EPA found that numerous potentially hazardous chemicals are commonly used in synthetic fragrance, including acetone, benzaldehyde, benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, camphor, ethanol, ethyl acetate, limonene, linalool, and methylene chloride.

So, your best bet? Unscented, 100 percent beeswax candles with a cotton wick are the safest option–but aren’t suitable for vegan candle-lovers who should opt for unscented soy-based candles. There are also a number of other vegetable wax based candles on the market; just make sure you are avoiding paraffin and synthetic fragrance.

111 comments

Karin Geens
Karin Geens2 days ago

Thanks

Peggy B.
Peggy B.2 days ago

Anything with any chemicals in it are bad for your body in some form even if you cannot feel any adverse reaction. Sadly the US doesn't have to list all the chemicals they use for so many items used in our homes. The same companies that don't list the ingredients in US products DO list them for the same items they sell in Europe. These same companies remove the chemicals for selling in the EU because they ban over 2000 chemicals and preservatives that the US allows. While the US is getting more and more unhealthy people and strange new ailments Europe is getting fewer. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell you that the corporations are running our country. I hope I'm wrong, but I can't see Trump going against his cronies and telling them to bring their safe limits up to par to match the rest of the developed world. You can't make America great again by giving the citizens chronic illnesses. If you want to get rich buy stock in the health and pharmacy industry...........................

Peggy B.
Peggy B.2 days ago

Argh........................

Hent catalina - maria

tyfs

Hent catalina - maria

thanks

Janet B.
Janet B.5 days ago

Thanks

Larry McDaniel
Larry McDaniel2 months ago

Thank you

Pablo B.
Pablo B.4 months ago

tyfs

Michelle M.
Michelle M.4 months ago

I had no idea about paraffin scented candles being harmful. Good to know. Thanx for sharing! ;0)

John B.
John B.4 months ago

Thanks Melissa. Very informative.