Valentine’s Day is on the way. You might be planning to buy a scented candle at the local store to help set the mood. You wouldn’t be alone, if so. Roughly $2 billion in candles are sold in the U.S. each year. Unfortunately though, studies have shown that scented candles actually can be bad for your health.
One study burned candles from a variety of manufactures in a sealed box and then collected air samples. They found that paraffin-based candles (most scented candles are parrafin-based) emitted toxic substances like benzene and toluene (both are carcinogens). This might not be surprising considering that paraffin wax is a petroleum by-product. No long-term studies have been conducted to test the effect of exposure of scented candles on human health, however the presence of these toxins is concerning. As the lead researcher said, “An occasional paraffin candle and its emissions will not likely affect you, but lighting many paraffin candles every day for years or lighting them frequently in an unventilated bathroom around a tub, for example, may cause problems.”
We wrote an article recently talking about similar problems associated with burning incense. So, that’s probably not a great replacement. Fortunately, the same study cited above tested beeswax and soy wax candles and neither were found to release toxic substances. So light up a beeswax candle and enjoy Valentine’s Day!