When you add a few candles to any room in your home, you can transform the entire atmosphere. Unfortunately, there is some bad news. Burning candles inside your home can actually reduce overall indoor air quality.
The Health Risks Related to Burning Candles
According to the EPA and several other studies, there are some candles, particularly the ones with scents added to them, that produce a chemical reaction when they are burnt. This reaction results in the release of various chemicals, including things like acetaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, acrolein, and formaldehyde. The concentration of these chemicals has been recorded at levels that exceed the safety threshold established by the EPA.
Why Candles are So Harmful
Not only does the act of burning a candle release all sorts of invisible chemicals, but it also creates soot. This is the black smoke you see coming off the flame. It can stain fabrics, your ceiling, and even the wall. Soot is formed anytime a candle does not burn completely.
Even though soot may be created with any type of candle, if you have purchased a cheaper candle (with scents added) they are going to produce the most soot. Soot created by burning candles is the top cause of UFPs or indoor ultrafine particles. These are so fine that they can enter in a person’s lung tissue, resulting in health issues.
Tips to Protect Yourself from the Potential Dangers of Burning Candles
Because of all the health risks related to burning a candle inside, you may think you should never light one in your home. While that may be the very best option, for many people it is not realistic. The good news is, there are some steps you can take to help reduce some of the biggest health concerns.
- Don’t burn a candle in a room that isn’t properly ventilated. Be sure to open the window or crack a door to allow the chemicals dissipate.
- Select the best candles. Natural, unscented candles that are made out of beeswax don’t contain all the chemicals that the ones made of paraffin do. Also, don’t ever purchase a candle that has a metal insert.
- Trim the candle wick. Only purchase candles that have a thin wick and be sure to trim it to just ¼ of an inch before you burn the candle. This will help to reduce the total amount of soot that is produced.
- Limit how long you burn candles in your home. Don’t leave your candle burning over a few hours each day.
- Use an air purifier. Installing a whole-house air purifier can help to remove most indoor pollutants including the ones produced when you burn a candle.
If you want to ensure the air quality in your home is good and that it stays that way, then it may be best to forgo the use of candles at all. You can speak to the professionals about this too, for additional ways to protect your indoor air quality.