Do Scented Candles Affect Air Quality?

Most individuals use candles to create an intimate and peaceful atmosphere in their homes. They provide color and a pleasant scent to a space, so enhancing the mood. After a long day, soaking in a hot tub with candles may seem like the perfect way to decompress. Nonetheless, some of these candles may add to indoor air pollution, putting your family’s health at risk. Read on to find out how.

Many individuals burn candles to create a calming environment in their homes. Recently, however, there have been recommendations urging candle enthusiasts to be more cautious with their use. It has been discovered that if they are not properly maintained, they can negatively impact indoor air quality.

The Impact of Scented Candles on Indoor Air Quality

In addition to discoloring your ceiling, walls, and surfaces, candles produce indoor air pollutants. The majority of candles use paraffin wax, a byproduct of petroleum. They emit volatile organic chemicals like benzene, soot, and acetone when burnt. These chemicals are identical to those found in diesel fuel exhaust, and they may cause skin issues, asthma attacks, allergies, and cancer.

Petroleum-derived fuels can produce soot as a result of incomplete combustion. You may know that your candle generates soot if you see black smoke emanating from the candle. Everything that emits smoke degrades air quality.

The smoke swiftly spreads from room to room and lingers in the air for a while. When breathed, soot particles reach the lungs and then enter the circulation. This leads in inflammation of the lungs. You will get coughing bouts and breathing difficulties. In addition, prolonged exposure might result in heart attacks or strokes.

Candles and HVAC Filters

Candles may deposit soot and smoke on your HVAC system’s filters. Over time, they will collect, and your system will begin to recycle these toxins back into the home’s air, further degrading indoor air quality. The soot may also settle on other essential components of the HVAC system, putting stress on the machine and perhaps leading to repeated failures and repairs. If you often burn candles in your home, you should schedule regular HVAC inspections. A technician will assess the device and remove smoke particles before they cause further system damage.

Problems with Fragrant Candles

Note that scented candles emit far more soot than unscented candles you buy in rigid candle boxes. In addition, they release additional pollutants into the interior air, which might endanger the health of you and your family. The majority of candles contain synthetic perfumes and produce volatile organic chemicals even when not burning. Petroleum distillate, phenol, benzyl acetate, and formaldehyde are a few of the major poisons released by scented candles.

Such substances induce allergic responses upon exposure. You may have severe headaches, chronic skin irritation, asthma-like difficulties, a clogged nasal channel, and/or itchy and/or watery eyes.

The majority of candles have cored wicks to keep them burning upright. Candles scented with oils are particularly susceptible to this problem since the oils weaken the wax and make uncored wicks unstable. Historically, the cored wicks included particles of lead. Later, the candle industry decided to eliminate lead from candles since its presence may have harmful consequences, particularly on young children.

Today, the majority of cored wicks are made of zinc and tin. When burned, they continue to discharge heavy metal particles into the air, although in lesser quantities. When zinc particles collect, they may induce influenza-like infections and throat discomfort. Tin can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing despite having a low toxicity.

Clean Air and Candles

The smoke from candles not only discolors the ceilings and walls of your home; it also contaminates your ventilation system’s ducts. Fiberglass ducts are particularly susceptible to this issue. And in the majority of instances, paraffin-based and scented candles are the primary offenders. Paraffin wax or a pure mixture of paraffin and other types of wax are the most common materials in candles today.

Remember that paraffin is a primary component of petroleum. So, when you burn it,, it emits a variety of carcinogenic poisons, including toluene, acrolein, benzene, soot, and acetaldehyde. In addition to discoloring your walls, the smoke from the candles can also cause damage. It is the same smoke that will spread to other areas of your home and create serious lung discomfort.

When inhaling smoke from a candle, you may also endure extended coughing fits. When exposed to the different varieties of candle smoke, you may have considerable difficulty breathing in some instances. In most instances, the matches will cause more toxins and impurities to permeate the air.

Additionally, scented candles may cause allergic reactions.

Common allergic responses produced by scented candle smoke include the following:

  • Itchy, watering eyes.
  • Blocked nasal passageways.
  • Extreme headaches
  • Similarities to asthma problems
  • Persistent cutaneous irritations

If your light-colored clothes are going gray or your television or computer display is coated with a thin, black residue that is readily removed with a clean cloth, then you have an indoor air quality issue that is mostly caused by candle soot. Beeswax candles and soy candles are two of the safest alternatives when it comes to candles.

Safer Alternatives

Thankfully, there are alternatives on the market that are safer than paraffin-based, carcinogenic scented candles. The beeswax candle is naturally occurring and emits no toxins or soot when burnt; therefore, it is less prone to cause allergic reactions. As the candle burns, the wax and wick are completely consumed by the hot flame. Unlike normal candles, these candles burn longer and are more expensive if you compare them with normal candles. This sort of candle has a honey-like scent that eliminates odors and a brilliant golden light that enhances the mood of a place.

Candles you get from soy plants grown without pesticides and without genetically modified organisms are what you should prefer. Most places cultivate genetically modified soy; therefore, you must ensure that your candle is organic. These candles burn more slowly and produce no byproducts or airborne pollutants. Palm oil candles are biodegradable and burn cleanly, but they have contributed to the destruction of palm oil plantations, making them a dubious option.

If you wish to enjoy certain smells, you may produce magnificent odors by adding essential oils to a diffuser or bathwater. Spices such as cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks may also be simmered in a saucepan of boiling water to generate delicious fragrances. A dish containing dried spices, fruits, wood chips, and flowers is what you may use to fragrance a space.


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