It is one of the most enjoyable things in life to come home after a long day at work and light an aromatherapy candle that releases a relaxing and calm scent. This seemingly innocent candle could actually be polluting your home and fueling the fossil fuels industry.
There are many alternatives to harmful aromatherapy candles. Soy candles, cedar candles, and beeswax candles are safer and more environmentally friendly. You can easily fill your home without using toxic gases by adding soothing scents to it.
Are My Candles Faulty?
Air pollution and petroleum-based wax are the biggest problems with candles.
You Can Now Burn Oil In Your Home
Avoid aromatherapy candles made from paraffin or gel. These are petroleum byproducts. It is a smart decision to avoid the fossil fuel industry whenever possible. Don’t drive a car if you don’t want to. Don’t burn a petroleum-based candle if you don’t need to.
These vegetable-based waxes have become more popular and can be used as a substitute for paraffin and gel wax. Customers value greener products so they will often be labeled with vegetable, coconut, and soy labels.
Also, beeswax candles can be natural and renewable and smell wonderful even without adding scents. Blend without indicating what was blended or unlabeled about the type of wax used, it is likely to be paraffin. Plant-based waxes are more stable and last longer, as they come from renewable sources.
Polluting Indoor Air
A 2014 study, often cited, concluded that “under normal circumstances of use, scented candles don’t pose known health hazards to the consumer.” Even the carcinogenic chemicals released from burning candles (benzene, formaldehyde) were less than half the limits recommended by the World Health Organization. The study was peer-reviewed but was conducted by scientists affiliated with candle manufacturers such as SCI Johnson & Son and Procter & Gamble.
A 2015 study by university-affiliated researchers in South Korea found that scented candles release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) both before being lit and while lit, concluding that scented candles “should act as potent sources of VOC emission in indoor environments.”
VOCs can cause headaches, irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, nausea, and damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. VOCs can be carcinogens, some of which have been proven to cause cancer. If you choose to light candles in the home, make sure you vent them with a fan or open a window.
You can also be at risk to your health from soot from candles. It can damage your appliances, walls, and even your own “ductwork” if it is left on too long or you fall asleep with the candle lit.
Experts recommend trimming the wick to 1/4 inch or 1/8 inch before lighting your candle. They also suggest not using petroleum-based candles, which can create more soot than natural candles. Also, do not burn the candle for longer than the label suggests. Usually 3 hours.
Does The Smell Of A Scent Make Sense?
Some people are allergic to synthetic scents. If this is you, then either avoid candles or use unscented candles that have a natural good-smelling fragrance, such as beeswax.
According to the New York Times, Dr. Pamela Dalton, an expert in odor perception and irritation, says candles contain the same amount of fragrance chemicals as a teaspoon for an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
What About The Wick?
Many scented candles used lead-core wicks. The wax is softened by fragrance oils, so manufacturers used to lead to keep the wicks firm. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states that a candle with a lead-core wick emits five times more lead than a candle without it. This exceeds EPA standards for outdoor air pollution.
High levels of lead exposure have been linked to hormonal disruption, behavioral problems, and learning disabilities, as well as numerous other health problems.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission banned lead wicks in 2003. However, by 1974, all members of the National Candle Association had voluntarily stopped using lead wicks. This included major brands such as Yankee Candle.
You can still check for lead wicks in candles that were made before 2003 by simply rubbing the tip on a piece of paper. If the wick leaves a gray mark like a pencil, it is likely to have a lead core. Toss any candle that you think might have a lead core wick if you have just burned it.
You may be able to find a non-toxic aromatherapy candle that will soothe tension headaches and rejuvenate tired muscles. You can get the same aromatherapy benefits from organic oils as scented candles and can even make your own scents.
Essential oils are made from plants and have been used for hundreds upon hundreds of years. However, essential oils are not always safe. Some can be toxic if absorbed through the skin and/or aspirated.
Essential oils are loved by many people for their pleasant scents. Essential oils should be kept away from pets and children, and should not be used by pregnant women or family members.
When bringing essential oils into your house, make sure you consult a trusted website, reference book, and qualified aromatherapist. There are several ways to let the aromas out of your home once you have chosen your oils.
Use a diffuser.
These simple containers, made mostly of glass, marble, and ceramic, release essential oils’ scents when heated with electricity or a small tealight candle. A diffuser can be used to fragrance a room with six to ten drops of essential oil.
Use a ring burner.
These rings are made of metal and have a reservoir to hold a few drops of essential oils. They can be inserted around a lightbulb and used heat to disperse their scent.
Relax in a warm bath.
To warm the bath, add five to ten drops of essential oils. Close the bathroom door, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Be aware that essential oils can leave marks on plastic bathtubs so make sure you clean them afterward.
Spray the essential oil. Ten drops of essential oil are mixed in seven tablespoons of water. Before filling the sprayer, shake well.
You can choose to go without candles or use nontoxic cedar candles like 100% beeswax candles. This will allow you to rest easy knowing that healthier options are better for your lungs.
To Summarize, You Can Safely Use Fragrances At Home
- Avoid oil-based paraffin and gel waxes, and instead, burn only plant-based or beeswax candles
- Before each use, trim the wick to 1/8 inch or 1/4 inches
- Burn the candle no longer than is recommended
- Aromatherapy at home: Use essential oils to diffuse aromatherapy in your home without any air pollution
- Before you bring essential oils home, make sure to read up on their safety.