Study Shows That Scented Candles May Be Hazardous to Your Health

Study Shows That Scented Candles May Be Hazardous to Your Health

Angela Markus

One of the items when reach for when attempting to set an intimate mood is lighting a scented candle. They are understandably appealing and create an ambience unlike any other, but now research is suggesting that scented candles can do more harm than good.

A study carried out by Professor Alastair Lewis of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of York found that an ingredient commonly used to give candles their scent transforms into potentially dangerous levels of the toxic substance formaldehyde.

The component in question is limonene, which is used to give citrus-scented candles their aroma. In its unaltered state, limonene is considered so safe that it is used to flavor food, as well to give cleaning products and air fresheners a lemony scent. The problem is that limonene reacts with naturally occurring ozone when released into the air, causing one in every two limonene molecules to mutate into formaldehyde. Professor Lewis’ concerns are therefore two-fold.

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The concentrations of limonene he found were much higher than previously estimated. Homes now let so little air out that these high concentrations of formaldehyde linger longer and can cause long term harm.

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The Health Protection Agency lists formaldehyde as a possible human carcinogen, as well as being toxic and corrosive. It can also cause nosebleeds, sore throats, coughs, and stinging eyes. Professor Lewis described limonene as a bulk chemical that is commonly found in higher concentrations in cheaper products, such as floor cleaners and air fresheners as well as candles.

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According to the professor, the best way to combat the presence of formaldehyde in the home is to open doors and windows after using a scented candle or spraying air freshener.

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Or, you can just avoid scented candles altogether. SHARE the love, pass it on.


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