As pumpkin spice season draws near and many stockpile their favorite fall-scented candles, you may want to check the label before you buy your next addition. While candles help set the mood and can aid in relaxation, it’s important to make sure that they aren’t filled with harmful additives that can damage your body, according to Harper’s Bazaar.
Paraffin wax is the number-one ingredient in candles sold today; this wax is a byproduct of gasoline and comes from petroleum (via Healthline). While evidence of its dangers has been disputed, paraffin wax and heat may not mix well. Potentially releasing harmful chemicals into the air, burning your favorite candle may be creating a more toxic environment after all. Tara Foley, founder of Follain, told Harper’s Bazaar: “If it doesn’t list a plant or vegetable wax, you should assume that it’s a paraffin wax.” When shopping for candles, look for alternative, natural waxes, such as soy wax or beeswax, to avoid any chemical byproducts.
Additionally, synthetic fragrances made from chemicals can become hazardous to your health. When burned, these perfumes can emit harmful volatile organic compounds, which can be potentially cancer-causing (via Healthline). When candle shopping, it’s best to look for those made with natural, non-GMO types of wax, fragrance, and essential oils.
Light your scented candles in a well-ventilated area
Since all waxes create soot, it’s wise to ensure that the space where you light your candle is well-ventilated. Breathing in any type of smoke can be hazardous — and candle smoke is no exception, especially when contained, according to Healthline. That’s because the combustion from burning candles made with paraffin wax has been likened to that of a diesel engine. Lots of ventilation and steering clear of burning your candles in drafty areas can help to reduce the amount of smoke they release.
Finding candles with 100 percent cotton wicks also proves vitally important to keeping your candle habit healthy. While putting lead in candle wicks was banned in 2003, companies can still use a metal core for their wicks that contain the harmful compound (via MindBodyGreen). Look for a candle with a pure cotton wick or a wooden wick that doesn’t create soot or leave an ashy residue.
Indoor air quality, especially as we spend more time in our homes, is vitally important to our overall health and wellbeing. Look for candles made with high-quality ingredients, natural fragrances, and clean wicks to keep your space filled with warm, safe scents.
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