Are Scented Candles Safe?

Are Scented Candles Safe?

Fresh Laundry.

Spring Rain.

Smoked Bacon.

Believe it or not, scents such as these permeate homes across America. Indeed, the candle industry in the United States alone brings in $2.2 billion annually.

While scented candles can create a pleasant aroma and ambiance, is it safe to breathe in these scents?

Most candles are heavily scented with fragrances made up of hundreds of chemicals, and the chemical reaction that occurs when they are lit can irritate the lungs and interfere with hormones. For example, those made from paraffin wax, can emit chemicals like toluene and benzene when burned, which can be harmful if inhaled in large amounts or over a long period.

However, the occasional use of scented candles in a well-ventilated area is generally considered safe for most people, as they don’t necessarily release so many chemicals as to exceed sale levels of exposure.

If you're concerned about the potential health risks, consider using candles made from beeswax or soy wax, which tend to produce fewer pollutants. Also, look for candles that use natural essential oils for fragrance rather than synthetic fragrances, which can contain harmful chemicals. Or you may want to consider entirely avoiding burning candles.

“Burning candles of any kind – including those made with natural ingredients – pollutes the air in your home with gases and small particulates that can be inhaled and travel deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream,” says Sarah Evens, assistant professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “For these reasons, we recommend against burning any type of candles in the home. Instead, use battery-powered candles for ambiance, and open windows to let in fresh air and eliminate odors.”

It is important to assess your risk factors on an individual level before making this decision for you and your loved ones. Always consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns about a specific health condition.


Back to blog