What do candles put in the air?
December 14, 2005 7:51 AM   Subscribe

What sorts of things do scented candles put into the air? I am wondering whether or not they release some sort of chemicals that might be harmful to one's lungs and also if anything is released that might create a film/buildup or cause problems for electronics, etc.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
 
The American Lung Assocation.
posted by duck at 7:59 AM on December 14, 2005


Here is an excerpt from a study of candle emissions.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:13 AM on December 14, 2005


Many ccandlewicks have a metal core. If it's lead, that's bad. There was a recent discussion of soy candles being better, but I'm too lazy to find it.
posted by theora55 at 8:18 AM on December 14, 2005


The same artificial scents that are used in candles are used in cheap pot pourri, soap powder, shower gel, pretty much anything in your home that has a scent but isn't edible.

IMO, the soot would be the biggest worry, but I'd worry more about living in London or NY.

(Not an expert, but I know a bit about scents and candles as a hobbyist).
posted by Leon at 8:24 AM on December 14, 2005


The EPA published a report called "Candles and incense as a source of indoor air pollution" which can be found here (scroll down). Almost all traditional candles are made from paraffin wax, which, like asphalt, is a petroleum by-product. Paraffin candles do produce a lot of soot - we had a tray of Pier 1 candles in our bedroom when we noticed the ceiling above was looking really dingy. When we got up there to scrub it off, we realized it was an accumulation of soot from the candles below. And ifyou can see that soot, you are also breathing that soot.

Soy wax candles are much better for you - I make mine with 100% soy wax and hemp wicks and I won't burn anything else now.
posted by Ostara at 8:28 AM on December 14, 2005


To calm one's paranoia: Pheylonian Beeswax Candles. A delightfully barking-mad read, though they do make fantastic candles.
posted by scruss at 8:29 AM on December 14, 2005


The same artificial scents that are used in candles are used in cheap pot pourri, soap powder, shower gel, pretty much anything in your home that has a scent but isn't edible.

I wouldn't think natural vs. artificial or edible vs. nonedible would have much to do with it. There are plenty of things that it's safe to eat, but that it's dangerous to inhale into your lungs (e.g. water, flour). Your lungs don't care if they're clogged with edible or inedible, something natural or something artifical, clogged up is clogged up.
posted by duck at 8:29 AM on December 14, 2005


Huh. Thanks for the replies. I have some reading to do now.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 8:32 AM on December 14, 2005


If you (or anyone in your home) has allergies to dust, pollen, mold, etc., I suspect candles may well bother you. I've had several scented candles (particularly the really strong ones like Yankee Candle) that I've had to stop using because their emisssions made my eyes itch terribly and/or made me cough. I don't know the specific ingredients that do this, but I don't suspect it could be very healthy.
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:23 AM on December 14, 2005


The bank I visit daily (for my job) has recently put a fragrance into the air, something that smells like vanilla-scented candles. I start wheezing if I'm there for more than 3 minutes. Let the holiday season soon be over!
posted by Carol Anne at 6:26 AM on December 15, 2005


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