Do you love burning candles? They can fill your home with a welcoming aroma. The wick dances and the flame sets the aviance for a warm evening. Perhaps you want to burn a candle to mask unpleasant odors in your home. Unfortunately, there are some health concerns with candles. Today’s blog will review some of the dangers with burning candles.

Most of the candles that we burn today are paraffin candles. Paraffin is a byproduct of petroleum. Paraffin can off-gas harmful chemicals into the air when  burned. Yikes! IMagine lighting a candle for a relaxing evening only to fill the air with toxic fumes such as benzene and toluene. Chronic exposure to those fumes may lead to increased risk of cancer, allergies, and asthma.

Health Concerns With Candles -Fragrances

Phthalates are used to scent the candles, they are also used in plastics. They have been linked to liver and kidney abnormalities as well as hormone disruption. In 2008 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission restricted six phthalates in children’s toys and childcare products. Do we want to be burning candles with phthalates in them?

Dangers of burning candles. There are some health concerns with burning a candle.Health Concerns With Candles-Color additives

We know that some synthetic dyes may be harmful to our health.

According to the Environmental Working Group, caramel colors III and IV may be contaminated substances that can cause tumors. “The European Food Safety Authority has expressed concern about furan contamination, which is also associated with cancer (EFSA 2011b).”

There have been reports that red food dyes make children hyperactive and that yellow food dyes aggravate symptoms of asthma.

According to the American Chemistry Society,

“the FDA has not banned these additives because these types of studies only show an association, whereas a cause-and-effect relationship has not been conclusively established. After 30 years of such studies, a link still has not been established between hyperactivity and artificial food dyes.”

If  you have concerns about ingesting food coloring then we probably should not be burning them which will emit them into the air we inhale.

Health Concerns With Candles  -Wick

A candle can emit soot, this usually happen when the flame is unstable (changing in size). Keep the wick short  ensure that the candle is not in a location with a draft.

A ban was placed in 2003 that restricted manufacturing, importing, or selling candles with lead wicks.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commision,

“Lead poisoning in children is associated with behavioral problems, learning disabilities, hearing problems and growth retardation. Although the primary source of lead poisoning in the United States is lead from paint in older homes, lead accumulates in the body, and even exposure to small amounts of lead can contribute to the overall level of lead in the blood. ”

There are safer alternatives for lead-cored wicks. These include  zinc, synthetic fibers, cotton and paper.

Take notice if the wick appears dark in color.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commision

Because consumers cannot tell if a metal- cored wick contains lead or an alternative, consumers may wish to contact the retailer for information about the materials used in their candles.

Tips on burning safer candles

Trim the excess wick, the longer the wisk the more soot is released.

Keep the candle away from drafts.

Ensure  that the wick is made using 100% cotton.

Use unscented candles or candles that are scented with pure essential oils rather than fragrances that can be harmful to our health. You can buy 100% pure essential oils here.

Look for 100% beeswax candles.

Avoid artificial colors. Look for candles that are pigmented with plant material.

Consider diffusing with a light flickers diffuser. You can buy one here under diffusers.

Avoid burning candles in smaller rooms where there is less ventilation.


Phthalates and diet: a review of the food monitoring and epidemiology data Samantha E Serrano,,Joseph Braun,,Leonardo Trasande,,Russell Dills and,Sheela Sathyanarayana Environmental Health 2014, 13:43

EWG -Phthalates Are Out of Children’s Toys, But In Your Food

EWG Dirty Dozen Guide to food additives, food colors:Questions and contamination.

Consumer Product Safety Commision

Do you have any health concerns with burning a candle?

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