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Are scented candles toxic?

How are scented candles made?

Most candles and thus most scented candles are made of paraffin wax.

Paraffin wax is a petroleum waste product and has to be de-odorized and chemically bleached. Paraffin wax creates highly toxic benzene and toluene when burned (both are known as carcinogens).

In fact, the toxins released from paraffin candles are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes. Paraffin wax is super toxic.

Many scented candles also have wicks that contain heavy metals like lead, and even a few hours of burning them can create levels of airborne heavy metals that are much higher than the acceptable limits.

Many candles also contain artificial scents and dyes, which release additional chemicals when burned.

How toxic are scented candles? Are scented candles harmful?

Indoor air pollution with scented candles

Scented candles are a huge source of indoor air pollution and put off dangerous chemicals.

When you burn your candle, the wax melts and evaporates. However, the scent-heavy construction of the candle itself goes somewhere…

The EPA did an extensive study in 2001 to examine candle-burning and how it relates to human health. They found out that scented candles did tend to produce more soot than unscented candles.

Chemicals from scented candles

The toxins released from paraffin wax candles are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes.

Add to this all the artificial scents and dyes and you are adding more chemicals to the air when you burn these candles.

You will find chemicals like Acetone, Trichlorofluoromethane, Carbon Disulfide, 2-Butanone, Trichloroethene, Carbon Tetrachloride, Styrene, Xylene, Cresol, Cyclopentene…

All these ingredients are the perfect cocktail for a big headache and respiratory problems.

Scented candles and allergies

Aside from chemicals contained in scented candles and may cause health problems, there are other aspects of scented candle-burning that can affect our health.

For people who suffer from allergies, scented candles are the worst! Scented candles and aerosols release fine particulate matter into the air.

These particles irritate your nasal passages and your lungs like allergens. Scented candles can thus cause congestion, cough, sneezing, post nasal drip and even asthma attacks.

Great alternatives to scented candles

Fortunately, there are some great alternatives to scented candles. An awesome alternative is soy-based candles.

If you are looking for a natural and non-toxic candle, have a look at our soy wax and wooden wick candle!