Are Candles Bad for You? – Know Your Facts


After a stressful workday, having a relaxing hot bath or having a hot tea taste with a few candles ON give the best calming vibe ever. It’s like one of the oldest traditions of relaxation.

Not only in the United States of America but also worldwide, there is also a trend of giving scented candles as gifts on special occasions of life. But there is a huge rumor behind these candles, which says they are creating an inhospitable environment by contributing to indoor air pollution.

So Let’s talk about this from todays’ Know Your Facts. Read and enjoy.

How do the Candles Work?

Before going through further, let’s have an idea about how the candles work in general.

Most of the candles for public use have been designed in containers, mostly like Glass or in clay. Using wax, a designer can get the shape of the candle quickly. Most of the scented candles are included the following basics.

  1. Waxes
  2. Fragrances
  3. Wicks
  4. Container
Wax moulded with candles

Apart from these, some of them come with different kinds of ingredients in commercials. But without these fundamentals, it’s hard to design scented candles in the general market.

1. Wax

Wax is the main body part of the candle, and mostly it takes the shape of the container after it gets cool down. With the help of the wick, wax controls the burning of the candles.

That speed mainly depends on the ingredient and the physical condition that keeps it in the container. There are mainly two types of candles in the market depending on the wax as an ingredient.

1.1 Paraffin wax

Paraffin waxes, also known as Mineral waxes, are the most common ingredient for waxes which can be easily found in the market.

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Most of the candles are made with paraffin

They included soft and classic paraffin Wax 50% in each (petroleum by Product). Therefore, it certainly has a hazardous health influence on users.

These are easily used to add dye and fragrance to candles in the market. Also, paraffin candles are not last longer than other kinds.

1.2 Waxes origin through Animal –Beeswax

These candles are quite good for mould candles. They are the most accepted natural Products compared to other candles.

Other than artificial mixtures, they are quite easy to work with moulds with these, and it also helps with diffusing certain fragrances. Due to original beeswaxes being recommended as 100% natural, practically, they are more costly than others.

1.3 Vegetable Waxes

These waxes are usually coming as a Product of plant origin. Mostly from soya rapeseed or palm trees. In general, it can be Soya wax or rapeseed wax + 5% beeswax + 5% stearin.

Other than paraffin waxes, these last a longer period of time. Also, they are specially designed for optimal combustion and fragrance diffusion. Waxes like soya cannot be used with different kinds of dyes.

2. Fragrances

These are the essential oil or the perfume oil used in candle making.

For fragrances, perfumes and essential oil products are mainly used. At the industrial level, perfumes are prominently utilized due to their particular level of suitability in diffusing the perfumes in the candles.

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Fragrances can also get polluted

Even though essential oils are widely used due to their natural origin and organic qualities, they are not qualified in diffusion tasks, same as perfumes because they release CMR substances.

R- Reprotoxic

3. Wicks

When selecting a wick for a candle, its size should be properly identified for better regular combustion. Most of the wicks are pre-coated wicks on sustainers or wooden wicks on sustainers.

Also, wicks are coated with natural or mineral wax.

4. Container

Most containers for candles are designed with reusable materials, mostly with Glass, terracotta, Aluminum tins. Hence container is not exposed as polluted sub-products during the task of the combustion of the candle.

How do the Candles Work?

Candlelight is a simple result of the combustion reaction. When you light a candle, you ignite the wax-covered wick part, and due to that heat wax coat is getting melted.

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Use candles wisely

Due to the bond between wax particles, wax in the container keep coming to the surface of the igniting wick part.

This combustion task converts the wax particles into their vaporized state. These vaporized molecules react with oxygen under the heat generated and create,

  1. Heat
  2. Light
  3. Vapor of water
  4. Carbon dioxide

This heat keeps melting down the wax layer to continue as a fuel medium(Reference).

So How Candles can be Harmful

Even though we mentioned the basics of a candle, there is reasonable doubt on the materials inside the various types of candles. Even with such tiny combustion, there is expectable danger inside a limited area of the indoor atmosphere.

Most of the time people light them in relaxing private areas like the bathroom there is a potential danger of air pollution increment.

Also, it might lead to generating harmful secondary pollutants resulting from that, which obviously worsens the situation.

Here are some main candle air pollutants which can worsen your indoor air quality.

1. Paraffin

Paraffin is a byproduct of petroleum, and same as petroleum, it’s also biodegradable. In the paraffin, candles can easily emit several air pollutants like;

  1. Benzene
  2. Toluene
  3. Formaldehyde
  4. Acetaldehyde
  5. Acrolein

These pollutants can easily trigger allergy-like symptoms, asthma conditions, or irritate the respiratory tract.

2. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is one of the famous ones you can often hear in the list of air pollutants. Formaldehyde is a VOC (volatile organic compound) that may directly increase cancer risk.

Even though you did not get such health conditions, there are several health issues through this air pollutant. Mostly like,

  1. sneezing
  2. runny nose
  3. sinus blockage

3. Lead Wick Candles

Wick in some of the candles is also toxic. Mostly from the heavy metal “Lead.” When you light a candle, when a wick is ignited, lead can be released as particulates into the air and deposited on the surfaces easily.

According to the records, Lead concentration in candles is only up to 0.06% in some countries, which is very restricted. Lead is hazardous to unborn babies, small children, and pregnant women mostly.

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Candle smoke is dangerous sometimes

Apart from that, it can lead to several health abnormalities.

  1. Impaired growth
  2. Hearing loss
  3. Behavior problems
  4. Respiratory problems
  5. Impaired short term memory
  6. Reproductive disorders
  7. Memory loss
  8. Nerve disorders

4. Fragrance

As mentioned before, the fragrance is the main ingredient in candles. Expect the perfumes; when essential oils are used to fragrance candles, they release several kinds of toxic compounds.

Mostly substances like Carcinogenic, Mutagenic, and Reprotoxic compounds.

Like other kinds of pollutants, they are also directly linked to developmental and reproductive harm, endocrine disruption, and allergens.

Even though most of the candles are very beautiful and relaxing, some of them slowly poison you. Therefore, always check the ingredients list and the quality in the market records before selecting candles.

Read More- Know about air purification

Read More – Know Your Facts

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