Are Scented Candles Killing You?
Some believe that scented candles are helpful in covering smells and also with aromatherapy. Others believe scented candles, air fresheners, and some oils are very harmful to the body and could be killing you. So, what are scented candles really doing to your body?
The sense of smell is one of our strongest senses. Melissa Breyer states, “What’s clear is that we thrive on good smells; and it seems to me like we have been subtly strong-armed into thinking that synthetic “fresh” smells are better than the natural smells of living” (Breyer). There are numerous hazardous chemicals commonly used in fragrances. When these chemicals are inhaled, it could cause central nervous system disorders, nausea, etc. Breyer explains “The American Lung Association of Minnesota says that burning candles can emit small amounts of toxins such as acetone, benzene, lead and mercury into the air” (Breyer). Some believe that beeswax candles with cotton wicks are the safest option.
Millions of homes across America contain scented candles. Most scented candles are made from paraffin wax which derives from a petroleum by-product such as crude-oil used also in gasoline. Also used in such things as Vaseline, crayons, and lip balm. April Duke emphasizes, “Something like Vaseline, which we put on our skin, is troubling enough; but let's consider the impact of actually burning this in your home and thereby releasing toxins into the air that your entire family breathes” (Duke). Burning petroleum based candles not only release toxins but also accumulates black soot in your home. Duke states, “The EPA has even released a report citing petroleum based scented candles as an indoor pollutant and has advised caution when utilizing these candles” (Duke). Most scented candles also use metallic wicks which contain lead and when burned releases the toxin into your air. Some alternatives are soy wax and beeswax candles, which are attractive and non-toxic.
Some burn candles to eliminate smells, holiday seasons, or even to remember a good time. Most do not realize what impact this has on others. For many others, airborne chemicals can create allergy symptoms, such as sneezing and a runny nose to asthma attacks. Dr. Stanley Fineman, president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, (ACAAI) states, “I've seen patients who say, ‘I go into somebody's house who has one of these air fresheners and I just can't stay there. I have increasing nasal symptoms, sneezing and coughing’.” (Goodwin). About 31 percent reported having an "adverse reaction" to scented products on other people, and about 19 percent reported having breathing difficulties, headaches and other health problems when exposed to air fresheners. Jenifer Goodwin states, “In the United States, air fresheners are subject to the Toxic Substances Control Act and the...