Are Safe Scented Candles A Myth?
Safe Scented Candles
Do safe scented candles even exist? Are we trying to kid ourselves when we are looking for scented candles that are environmentally safe and good for our health? Is it possible to get the best of both worlds or will we always have to sacrifice one for the other?
Are Safe Scented Candles More Than A Myth?
Scented candles are sold almost everywhere these days. I think most women and even some men love scented candles; I would even go out on a limb to say that most of us would prefer safe scented candles if it is possible to find those. We would prefer not to give up our scented candles so having the assurance that we can safely use them would be an added bonus in my book. According to the National Candle Association:
There is just something therapeutic about scented candles; and that is what I think draws most persons to them. Scented candles are made from many different oils that come from unknown sources. How can we get the best of both worlds, is the question that is on the lips of many lovers of scented candles? According to Dr. Oz, these very scented candles that we love so much could be polluting the air in our homes. Should we take this seriously or just move right along?
Candle sales took off in the 1990s, when they became a part of home decor and peaked in 2000, growing at a rate of 10 percent or more each year. Consumer demand for home fragrance products helped feed this tremendous boom (White)
Findings From BBC Investigation
A study carried out by Professor Alastair Lewis of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of York found that an ingredient commonly used to give candles their scent mutates into formaldehyde upon contact with the air.
Professor Lewis and his team are concerned about one particular ingredient in many scented candles – LIMONENE. By itself this is fairly safe, so safe that it is sometimes used in food. However, “limonene also reacts with naturally occurring ozone when released into the air, causing one in every two limonene molecules to mutate into formaldehyde”. The team is concerned that there are higher levels of limonene in scented candles than previously thought and that concentrations of formaldehyde linger longer in homes because people rarely open their windows these days.
How Can We Protect Ourselves
If you are not ready to give up scented candles then here are a few tips that may help to keep you safe:
- Open doors and windows more often after using scented candles
- Trim the wick before lighting to 1/8 inch or two pennies stacked together
- Invest in a natural air filter (NASA has designed one that seems to do a great job)
- Add plants indoor (Boston Fern, English Ivy or Lavender)
- Check to make sure that your candle wicks are not made out of lead. Candle wicks that have lead in them will leave a grey mark if you try to draw a line with it.
Place one plant per 100 square feet in your home and you could eliminate most of the chemicals in your home
The experts have also suggested using unscented candles but I am still puzzled about this one. Scented and unscented are really on opposite sides of the track so I am still trying to figure out how this might be a solution for someone who loves scented candles. Anyway, they have also suggested purchasing soy or 100 percent beeswax candles as a way of protecting yourself if you love candles. One thing that had me sitting up in my seat was the suggestion to make your own natural scent:
- Put a pot of water on the stove
- Add cinnamon, cloves or any other spices that you love
- Simmer the spices
- Pour into a jar
- Open the jar and let it release the scent into your house
- One jar can last for about a week
At the end of the day, all this is a personal choice. I am not a medical personnel, just someone looking for ways to protect my family and myself. Each of us have to decide what is best for our families. It is important that we take the time to do our research, so that we can make more informed decisions.
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Statistics Inspire Many Candle Lovers to Start A Business of Their Own. Retrieved From http://www.examiner.com/article/statistics-inspire-many-candle-lovers-to-start-a-business-of-their-own
White, T. How Big is the Candle Industry? Retrieved From http://smallbusiness.chron.com/big-candle-industry-69541.html
Why Scented Candles Could Cause Cancer. Retrieved From http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/12103003/Why-scented-candles-could-cause-cancer.html