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Scented Candles Can Be Harmful to Indoor Air Quality

Scented Candles Can Be Harmful to Indoor Air Quality

Candlelight seems to make any occasion special. It can add elegance or romance to a dinner table and help turn a warm relaxing bath into a spa-like retreat from the demands of a busy life. Unfortunately, indoor air quality testing has shown that burning some candles can release benzene, toluene and other chemicals into the air.

If you look forward to burning a scented candle as a way to relax at the end of a trying day, you may want to investigate some other relaxation tools. Don’t blame the environmental air testing experts at AirMD. We’re just the bearers of the bad news and we hate to be the ones to rain on your stress-relieving parade, but a study conducted by the EPA has shown that burning candles and incense can release harmful particles, including VOCs, into the air in your home.

Among the report’s key findings are:

  • Candles and incense can be sources of particulate matter.
  • Burning candles with lead core wicks may result in indoor air concentrations of lead above EPA-recommended thresholds.
  • Exposure to incense smoke has been linked with several illnesses, and certain brands of incense also contain chemicals suspected of causing skin irritation

Potential Indoor Air Quality Impacts of Burning Candles

According to a study published by EPA, “When candles are burned, they emit trace amounts of organic chemicals, including acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, acrolein, and naphthalene (Lau et al., 1997).” And that’s not even their biggest concern! “The primary constituent of public health concern in candle emissions is lead,” the report stipulates.

Candlemakers use metal to keep the wick standing up. Without it, the wick will just flop over as the was begins to melt, which will dose the flame. As the EPA says, “The US candle manufacturing industry voluntarily agreed to cease production of lead-containing candles in 1974, once it was shown that burning lead-wick candles resulted in increased lead concentrations in indoor air (Sobel et al., 2000b). Unfortunately, despite the voluntary ban, lead wick candles can still be found on the market.”

In addition to lead, scent can also have negative impacts on indoor air quality. If you are concerned about the possible effects the candles you have been burning might have on your home environment, call AirMD, one of the most respected air quality testing companies in South Florida, at 1-888-462-4763.

By AirMD | Posted in Air Quality Testing