candles and indoor air quality

Study: Candle Chemicals Pollute Indoor Air

New study finds candles may muck up your indoor air quality.

Study: Candle Chemicals Pollute Indoor Air

Beware: Too many candles could be gravely unhealthy.

Try these tips to enjoy candles without polluting your indoor air:

•  Support your local beekeeper. Paraffin candles release chemicals because of improper combustion: The flame doesn't get hot enough to burn the oil completely, and chemicals are released as a result, Massoudi writes in his study. Beeswax candles burn at lower temperatures and don't have that problem. They also smell sweet without any added chemical fragrances, and some people believe that the negative ions in the wax actually improve your indoor air quality as the candles burn.

•  Don't burn GMOs or rain forests. Massoudi compared the paraffin wax candles in his study to soybean wax candles, which didn't emit any of the pollutants that the petroleum-based paraffin did. However, many soy candles are made from genetically modified (GMO) soybeans, which decrease biodiversity and can contaminate organic soybean crops. Palm oil, another vegetable wax used in candles, comes from palm tree plantations, for which rain forests were burned or clear-cut.

•  Buy the right kind of oils. In this case, essential oils. Even beeswax and plant wax candles can be scented with synthetic fragrances, which can contain phthalates that can interfere with your hormone system. Phthalates can also build up in household dust and linger for long periods. So if you're going for scented candles, look for ones that are scented with essential oils rather than chemical fragrances.

•  Trim the wicks, and use your common sense. Keeping wicks trimmed to about ¼" will cut down on any soot that may come from candles, soy wax, beeswax or otherwise. Also, keep candles out of drafty windows where drapes may come in contact with the flame, and don't leave them unattended.

•  Use outdoor air to improve indoor air. If you're burning candles to improve the smell of your home, you're going about it the wrong way. "Some people just don't open the door and get fresh air in their homes," says Massoudi. That's a lot more effective at freshening up a space than polluting candles can be.


Published on: August 25, 2009

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Many candles and scented

Many candles and scented products also contain chemicals that companies aren’t required to disclose on the label. A recent check of the candle aisle at a Portland grocery store didn’t turn up one scented candle that listed ingredients.

Some labels simply list “fragrance” as an ingredient without giving any specifics. Coleman said there can be hundreds of chemicals that go into scented candles that consumers don’t know about.
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I used to have problems sleeping and even tried burning aromatic candles to aid my sleep. But in the end I realised it was sleep apnea and it went away after some treatment with the help of CPAP supplies.

Only buy soy candles

My wife has been making soy candles for years. Compared to conventional candles they are far superior, expecially in terms of the air quality in your home and the toxins conventional store bought candles give off. My wife has been selling her handmade candles at and has quite a nice selection of soy candles and tarts at very reasonable prices. She uses only the highest quality soy from local farms (not imported) and tests each candle variation to ensure it burns and smells how it should.

Perfumed candles

My wife works a place that sells these candles, a place i cannot enter for more than a few minutes because the perfume (?) overwhelms me and makes me nauseous. She is unconcerned, calls me supersensative, but i am concerned.

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