THidden Hazards in Scented Candles: New Research Reveals Potential Health Risks



As the holiday season wraps up, many households have been filled with the warm glow and pleasant aroma of scented candles. While these candles are often associated with cozy ambiance, a recent study published in the Annals of Medicine and Surgery has raised concerns about potential health hazards linked to their use.

For most individuals, scented candles are a harmless part of creating a festive atmosphere at home. However, the research, first reported by The Cut, suggests that certain individuals may be at risk of experiencing adverse effects ranging from vertigo and headaches to respiratory issues and watery eyes after exposure to scented candles.

Identifying the Risks of Scented Candles:

The study emphasizes that those suffering from symptoms such as vertigo, headaches, respiratory problems, sneezing, or a stuffy nose after exposure to scented candles should consider avoiding them in the future.

Even for those not experiencing immediate adverse effects, the study suggests taking precautionary measures, such as ensuring proper ventilation by opening windows to let in fresh air.

One of the primary concerns highlighted in the research is the presence of harmful ingredients in scented candles. Toluene, found in candles made from paraffin or petroleum-based wax, is identified as a potential threat.

Extended exposure to high concentrations of toluene has been linked to various health hazards, affecting the nervous system, respiratory system, and even the developing brain, according to Ariful Haque, MPPS, MPH, a co-author of the study.

Another potential danger comes from benzidine, present in some dyes used to color candles. Haque explains that there is a correlation between occupational exposure to benzidine and the development of urinary bladder cancer.

However, it’s important to note that the risk associated with benzidine is more related to long-term exposure, such as during the candle-making process, rather than occasional burning in homes.

Choosing Safer Alternatives of Scented Candles:

The study authors recommend exploring natural fragrances as an alternative to synthetic ones commonly used in scented candles. Additionally, they suggest considering candles made from soy or beeswax, which are known to emit fewer harmful substances when burned.

While these alternatives may offer a safer option, the challenge for consumers lies in discerning which candles contain potentially harmful ingredients. Unfortunately, this information is not always readily available, and the study underscores the need for greater transparency in labeling.

Response and Recalls:

This revelation comes on the heels of Target’s recall of millions of store-brand scented candles due to burn and laceration risks. The recall serves as a reminder that even widely distributed products may pose unforeseen dangers.

In a separate incident reported by The Post, a woman experienced carbon monoxide poisoning after burning multiple scented candles in a small room for ten hours. The incident highlights the importance of being cautious about the cumulative effects of prolonged exposure to candle emissions.

As we bid farewell to the holiday season and its scented ambiance, the study’s findings prompt a reconsideration of the potential health risks associated with our favorite candles.

While scented candles may remain a popular choice for creating a cozy atmosphere, consumers are urged to be vigilant, seek natural alternatives, and prioritize proper ventilation to minimize health risks associated with extended exposure.

The call for increased transparency in labeling becomes crucial as consumers strive to make informed choices for the well-being of their households.

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