Lighting a candle for ambiance or a nice smell is a common practice for most people. Go to any store and you will see lines and lines of them for sale. However, what most people don’t know is that scented or even non-scented candles can be extremely dangerous.
This is all because of the soot these candles produce.
“Research has shown that many premature deaths are directly related to soot in the environment. Particle exposure leads to around 20,000 premature deaths in America each year. Many of these deaths were caused by soot-related diseases. Data also show that soot annually causes almost 300,000 asthma attacks and 2 million lost workdays due to respiratory problems.” (source)
Meghan Budden learned this the hard way when she kept two candles burning in her home for a few hours. She thought nothing of it – until the next day, when she noticed black spots had appeared on the inside of her nose.
Even scarier is what she noticed next.
“I picked up the baby to feed him and noticed that the inside of his nostril – it was all black,” Budden told CBS 2.
After cleaning out her baby’s nostrils best as she could, Budden snapped this picture, which alarmingly shows plenty of black spots remaining.
Those black spots remained a mystery to Budden – until she picked up one of the candles she had burned the day before. That’s when it all clicked. The black spots were actually soot from the candles that Budden and her baby had inhaled.
You see, wax candles contain paraffin, a petroleum waste product. When you burn paraffin, it releases toxins no less dangerous than those released by cigarettes. This is why paraffin candles usually carry a warning label that warns against burning them for more than 3 hours.
If you ignore that warning you run the risk of inhaling those toxins, as Meghan Budden and her baby did. Those black spots in their nostrils, by the way, would’ve been merely a symptom of a much scarier problem – toxins in their lungs.
The risk with candles doesn’t end at paraffin.
You won’t find this in North American candles produced after 2003 but it’s still an issue with foreign-made candles. Of course, when you set the wick on fire it releases lead fumes, which easily get into your lungs and other organs.
The truth is, scented candles are not good for indoor air quality or the health of your family. There are much better natural options like diffusing essential oils or purchasing beeswax candles.