There’s nothing like lighting a gingerbread scented candle and curling up with a good book on a fall Sunday afternoon. Or soaking in the tub with a few lavender scented candles after a long day at work. There’s just something about aromatherapy that always helps us unwind.
But we recently came across an article in The Daily Mail that has us reconsidering our use of candles altogether. Apparently, multiple studies show that scented candles can contribute to major health problems. We’re talking serious problems, like lung damage and birth defects. Yikes!
Candles aren’t the only culprits. Scented aerosols, gels, incense, and plug-ins are among “an array of hazardous substances which may cause lung damage and tumors, interfere with our hormones, and cause such lifelong problems as asthma,” The Daily Mail reports.
If you tend to decorate with candles but don’t light them, you must be in the clear – right? Wrong. Studies find that even having the scented candles in the house poses a risk, because “simple evaporation” can release the pollutants into the air. Candles and the other scented products contain industrial-strength chemicals (including formaldehyde!) that can actually cause mutations in your DNA after prolonged exposure. Similarly, burning incense releases tiny chemical particles that can get trapped in your lungs.
So should you clean house and dump all of your scented candles and air fresheners? Maybe not just quite yet.
“For a person who lights a candle every day for years or just uses them frequently, inhalation of these dangerous pollutants drifting in the air could contribute to the development of health risks like cancer, common allergies, an even asthma,” says researcher and chemistry professor Dr. Ruhullah Massoudi. However, the majority of people don’t use candles every day. Researchers reported that there’s “not a public health concern under normal ventilation conditions or product use.”