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Dangers of Artificially Scented Candles

by Jamie Ortbal, staff writer

Photo by: Sam Villanueva

Fall has once again arrived, bringing with it pumpkin spice lattes, cozy boots and comforting scented candles.  While these fall necessities may create an inviting and cozy atmosphere, artificially scented candles in particular pose a serious a danger to those who are exposed to them on a regular basis.   

A recent study done by Dr. Amid Hamidi at the University of South Carolina and many other studies done in the United States have shown that artificially scented candles release several different harmful chemicals into the air when burned, including benzene and toluene, both of which are found in tobacco smoke and motor vehicle exhaust.  These chemicals can be released even when the candle isn’t lit; they can cause many severe health risks, and people claim that they are just as harmful than tobacco smoke.  However, most people are unaware of these negative consequences.   

One of the scariest effects of regularly burning artificial candles is the risk of developing tumors.  Tumors can be removed with surgery, but can also lead to death.  

Artificially scented candles can also cause lung cancer.  When inhaled, the chemicals released by the candles can mutate cells and make them cancerous over time.   Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer caused by artificially scented candles.

Artificially scented candles also make asthma worse for those who already have it and can even cause people to develop asthma.

The effects of burning artificially scented candles are immediate for some, but many burn candles unknowingly for years before they begin to see the effects.  As an alternative, some people buy unscented soy or beeswax candles.  These candles have been tested and studies have shown that they do not release toxic chemicals into the air.  While these candles may not create a wonderful fragrance in the living space, they create a cozy ambiance and do not pose any threat to a person’s health.   

While scented candles may seem like a harmless and enjoyable way to get yourself into the fall season, they actually have an dangerous impact on a person’s health over time.  Unscented soy and beeswax candles are great alternatives to artificially scented candles because they still provide a cozy ambiance without the risk of tumors, cancer, and asthma.