All around the world, people are lighting up candles in their homes, snuggling up with their favorite people, and listening to romantic music.
The scented oil from the candles give off wonderful aromas that make the air around the candle warmer, and simply inviting.
We all love a good smell, and at least a few of us like to light them up, even if it’s only for a moment.
But does scented candle really gives off fumes and cause cancer? The short answer is no, they don’t. There is no substantial evidence that scented candles have any carcinogenic effects.
However, scented candles have the ability to cause health problems. This includes the burning of paraffin wax candles, soy wax candles, beeswax candles, and other forms.
Although scented candles are not proven to be carcinogenic, it is still recommended to use these candles with caution since they can emit harmful chemicals.
Harmful chemicals that scented candles may emit
Scents from candles are something people love to use for a good smell, and many people enjoy having them around. However, scented candles produce a wide range of chemicals when burning, some of which are odorous.
The toxic chemicals that may be present in scented candles include:
Benzene is a solvent that can cause renal and hepatic failure. Benzene is a colorless liquid that can cause drowsiness, dizziness, headache, vomiting and loss of consciousness at high concentrations.
It is a chemical that is used in the manufacture of plastics, detergents, pesticides, and sometimes scented candles.
Toluene is commonly found in scented candle and is a hazardous chemical. Toluene can cause irritation to the nose, eyes and throat, and can also lead to vision problems, nausea, headaches and loss of consciousness.
Lead produces a sweet smell, but is highly toxic. Lead in candles is toxic to humans and animals. The chemical can be released in small amounts when a candle is burned.
Lead is a potent neurotoxin that affects almost every organ, system, and tissue in the human body. Lead is especially toxic to the brain and nervous system. It has no taste, smell, or color.
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are a group of cancer-causing chemicals (with long exposure) that form when a substance (such as an oil) is burned.
Some research has found that candles with a strong scent can increase the amount of chemicals in the air.
- Diacetyl fumes
Diacetyl fumes cause a condition called ‘popcorn lung’. A popcorn lung condition is when you inhale fumes from burning candles and the fumes get trapped in your lungs, causing them to swell, making you short of breath.
It is so bad that you can’t breathe out properly and it makes you cough so hard that you get mucus on the lung.
Formaldehyde is a colorless, water-soluble gas that is produced in many places, including many household products, but is also coming from many artificial sources, like scented candles.
It is a highly toxic chemical, which is a result of the reaction of formaldehyde with methanol (wood alcohol).
Negative effects caused by scented candles
The burning of scented candles has been a part of everyday life for many decades. With the rise in popularity of home candle making, people are becoming more and more aware of the health risks of scented candles.
Burning scented candles, especially using paraffin candles, may be completely innocent, but they are known to have hidden dangers. But the use of scented candles can also have both positive and negative effects on our health.
Candles that are scented with essential oils are not recommended as inhalation of the scented oils can cause health risks such as common allergies, respiratory problems, nausea, and vomiting.
Positive effects caused by scented candles
Burning scented candles may cause a range of health problems, but there are also positive effects that you can get when you are using these.
The scent of a candle can cause you to feel relaxed and less anxious, which can help with mild depression. It can also help you feel less hungry and more full, which can aid in weight loss.
Scented candles have a powerful effect on the human brain with therapeutic benefits. They can be used to reduce stress and boost energy. This not only makes you feel relaxed but also releases positive chemicals in your body.
Types of candles
Paraffin candles are candles created from a wax that is derived from a refined petroleum product. Paraffin wax is a white, odorless, tasteless, hydrocarbon wax, not soluble in water, but soluble in ether, alcohol and esters.
Paraffin candles are also known to emit unwanted chemicals when burning.
Beeswax candles are one of the healthiest candles and known to have health benefits when used. The wax comes from a beehive and is used to make honeycombs.
Beeswax candles have natural ingredients and are made from the purest and most sustainable form of wax available. Beeswax are non-toxic candles and considered as safe candle waxes.
Soy wax candles are candles made with soybean oil instead of traditional wax. They burn longer and more brightly than traditional candles, and they are biodegradable.
The soy wax used in homemade candles is extracted from soybeans, which are a renewable resource. And has a sweet scent.
Kirsten Carter is a freelance content writer who specialises in writing about travel, technology and health. When she’s not traveling between her home of Tanzania and England, she writes for her blog Rightminded Travelling and features on a variety of different travel and technology sites.