Sunday, August 1, 2010

Indoor Air Pollution from Household Candles

When I had my first opportunity to help with a tabling event for Utah Moms for Clean Air, I couldn't help but overhear the topic of indoor air pollution from common household candles.  I can't remember if I commented or not that I've been burning candles in my home for years, but it's true.  I love the way burning candles creates a warm ambience in your home not to mention create a pleasing scent.  But I was shocked to hear how candles are one of the biggest culprits for indoor air pollution.  So I decided to learn more...

Click here for a study on the impact of burning candles in your home.

Apparently, most candles contain a variety of artificial fragrances including benzene, a carcinogenic volatile and semi-volatile organic compound which increases the  risk of cancer and neurological disorders.  The summary of the above study stated Use of scented candles may contribute significant quantities of pollutants to the indoor environment, especially soot, benzene and lead. Dozens of other compounds were identified...(The Journal of LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc., (1999-2000), Vol. 7, No. 4.)

After doing advanced research for more information on the topic, more studies done or any warning on the hazards of candle burning and indoor air quality, I found little.  It is rarely known that most candles contain harmful VOCs which can seriously affect the health of those breathing it.  I did find a document from 2001 the EPA put out containing research and development on the issue. If you get the chance to I recommend looking it over.  It might make you rethink lighting those scented candles.  

Click here for the analysis and literature review by the EPA.

On a positive note for all of you who, like me, enjoy the ambiance of candles.  You can make your own non-toxic and soot free candles!  Go here for instruction.  This will be a fun project for this coming fall/winter.

~Curious Mommy

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