Indoor pollution from romance and candles

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Indoor pollution and romantic candles

Researchers from the American Chemical Society warn us that romantic candles can compound the ill effects and health hazards associated with indoor pollution. Using candles made from paraffin in the bathroom during a hot soak, or at a romantic dinner table, is an unrecognized source of indoor pollution that could cause respiratory problems, and increase cancer risk.

According to R. Massoudi Ph.D., and Amid Hamidi, Ph.D, paraffin candles release petroleum. Soy and beeswax candles are healthier, and worth the extra cost. The scientists tested paraffin candles, finding that they could contribute to indoor pollution, and possibly contribute to cancer.

Occasionally burning a romantic candle is unlikely to cause health problems, but if you enjoy the ambience of candlelight regularly, it might be best to consider changing to soy or beeswax to decrease your chances of respiratory irritation from paraffin candles. The compounded effects of indoor pollutants can be risky for human health.

Indoor pollution comes from a variety of sources, including computers, fax machines, mold, tobacco, pesticides, and ventilation systems. The result can pose health problems, especially over time, that includes susceptibility to respiratory disease and infection.


Soy and beeswax candles can also provide aroma, without the indoor pollution that could lead to health problems from paraffin candles, compounding the health hazards of other sources of indoor pollution.

The researchers suggests eliminating paraffin candles in the home, especially if you believe you have an allergy or notice respiratory symptoms that occur frequently. "An occasional paraffin candle and its emissions will not likely affect you," Hamidi said. "But lighting many paraffin candles every day for years or lighting them frequently in an un-ventilated bathroom around a tub, for example, may cause problems."

Indoor pollution has been a focus of research for the past several years. You can lower levels of indoor pollution by using non-toxic products in the home, limiting use of aerosols, chlorine bleach, especially in closed spaces, taking caution when using rug and upholstery cleaners (ventilate and wear gloves), and recognizing other potential sources of indoor pollution.

Using romantic candles should be added to the list of health hazards from indoor pollution. If you enjoy the ambience and warmth of candles, make it a point to use soy or beeswax candles to avoid the poor health that can occur over time from indoor pollution.

American Chemical Society
Indoor Air Pollution Fact Sheet - Household Products
Indoor air pollution and health