How Candles Affect Indoor Air Quality

Candles Are you fond of using scented candles? Candles create a pleasant ambiance filled with a variety of scents such as jasmine, sandalwood, and lavender. Unfortunately, some of these candles adversely affect indoor air quality.

Paraffin Wax
Most candles constitute paraffin. Most manufacturers chemically bleach petroleum waste and deodorize to make wax. When you burn paraffin wax, it releases toxic carcinogens including toluene, acetone, and benzene. They cause different health conditions including asthma and skin irritation. The University of South Florida recently conducted a study which revealed that candles with paraffin wax emit significant amounts of benzene.

In addition, lighting paraffin wax candles produces soot, tiny particles which remain suspended in the air for long. Soot particles resemble diesel exhaust. They quickly penetrate an individual’s lungs once they inhale contaminated air. Eventually, you absorb them into your bloodstream. Minute elements lead to allergies, cancer, stroke, and heart attack.

A report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows that scented candles produce high amounts of soot compared to non-scented candles. It recommends replacing paraffin candles with soy and unscented beeswax candles. Lighting a candle in enclosed places often leads to respiratory irritation. Also, it releases sulfur into the atmosphere. It’s advisable to turn on an exhaust fan whenever you light a candle.

If you prefer using candles at home, choose safe brands. Also, ensure that there is smooth airflow in your house. You need to trim your wick to less than half an inch. It’s vital not to let the candle to burn consistently for over an hour. Alternatively, you can use aromatherapy such as an oil diffuser.

Chemical Scents
Scented candles use sophisticated chemicals to create pleasant scents. Most of them use synthetic dyes and fragrances which continuously produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Common VOCs include alcohol, esters, formaldehyde, limonene and petroleum distillates. They have an array of health effects such as asthma attacks, cancer, dizziness and respiratory-related infections.

Cored Wicks
Some candles have metal wires in their wicks. It helps in keeping them upright. Several studies reveal that some cords contain lead. In a typical candle, the wick usually is upright. Cotton is often wrapped around a metallic wire. It prevents the cotton wick from falling into the wax. Most fragrance oils weaken the wax.

When lighting a candle, ensure your HVAC system is running as required to maintain a constant flow of fresh air in your home. That way, you keep your loved ones safe and healthy.

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July 3, 2018 9:08 pm