Could Christmas candles be hurting your health?

7 December, 2017

With the festive season in full swing, homes across the country are brimming with dazzling decorations, fabulous foods and Christmas cheer.

Many of us will also be adding to the atmosphere by lighting scented candles, which fill the air with indulgent aromas such as mince pies, pine cones and mulled wine spice; the variety of scents is practically endless. These candles also make a very handy ‘standby’ gift for party hosts, hard-to-buy-for friends and mothers-in-law across the land.

But have you ever thought about exactly what these scented candles are made of, how they might affect our air quality and our health?

Candles can be a luxurious and comforting home accessory but most - especially those that are perfumed and made with paraffin wax - contain alarming levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including benzene and toluene, two known carcinogens.

When you burn these toxic candles in your home you’re also releasing hydrocarbons, which are the chemicals found in car exhaust fumes! The nasties released by some could raise the risk of asthma, eczema and other skin complaints.

It’s not all bad news for candle lovers though - there are some products that are much better for your indoor air quality and your health. Check out the following tips and you’ll be on much safer ground:

Top Tips for Using Candles this Christmas:

  • Go for ‘top-of-the-range’ candles scented with natural perfumes and essential oils
  • If you can, choose beeswax or soy-based candles, which have a relatively clean bill of health
  • Non-scented candles produce much less soot and air particles
  • Look for hard wax - avoid soft or gel waxes
  • Thin, braided wicks that seem to curl when they are lit are ideal - avoid thick wicks. With multi-wick candles, check that they're burning evenly
  • Make sure your candle has an even, low flame while it is burning
  • Make sure the room is well-ventilated, but not draughty - candles in a draft can produce up to 50% more soot

Have a happy and healthy Christmas, from all at Airtopia!

Find out more about indoor air quality here.


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