Your favorite candle, which creates the warmth of your home and smells beautifully in all rooms, can have a negative impact on your health. While you relax and watch the flaming flame, the burning wick emits toxic substances that inhale your loved ones. Nowadays the market offers us countless kinds of candles from different materials. Which ones should we avoid?


Most candles on the market are made of paraffin, a by-product of petroleum. Oil waste is chemically bleached, deodorized and then formed into wax. Paraffin wax can release toxic volatile organic carcinogenic compounds such as acetone, benzene and toluene into the atmosphere during combustion. Inhalation of these substances causes allergies, asthma attacks, skin problems and even cancer.

Burnt candle emissions were investigated experimentally. The main pollutants identified are BTEX (benzene – toluene – ethylbenzene – xylene), aldehydes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are mutagenic and carcinogenic. In animal experiments adverse effects on skin and hematopoiesis, respiratory and immune system damage, and reproduction were observed.

A Potential Source of Air Pollution in Your House

In 2001, the US Environmental Protection Agency published a report summarizing available information about candles as potential sources of indoor air pollution. Among other things, the report points out that scented candles are likely to produce higher harmful emissions than non-perfumed candles.

The report also mentioned a study that reported the concentration of acrolein, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde from candle emissions above the thresholds recommended by the Agency, and again highlighted the concentrations of benzene excreted that could pose risks to human health.

Synthetic Fragrances

These substances (perfume, fragrance) are just in the beginning of attention and the results of the studies are mostly alarming. For example, environmental scientist Anne Steinemann, a professor at the University of Melbourne, an internationally recognized expert on pollutant exposure and related health impacts, discusses in detail the risks of synthetic odor and indoor air quality impacts.

The risks of synthetic odors mentioned are mainly due to the toxicity of very small amounts of these substances. The fragrance component can include dozens and even hundreds of other substances, many of which are demonstrably harmful or potentially dangerous.

Which Candles to Choose?

Beeswax candles have a delicate natural aroma of honey, last longer to burn and do not produce hazardous substances during combustion.

Candles are made from soya, rapeseed, coconut, olive or sunflower oil waxes. Their combustion does not produce toxic substances and burns longer than paraffin candles as well.

Choose those that are only fragranced with natural essential oils and dyed with natural dyes. Always check if the vegetable wax is not mixed with paraffin.

Source and credit:,