Do romantic dinners cause air pollution?

November 03, 2009
Volume 06    |   Issue 45

Few people think of toxic air when they light a few candles for a romantic dinner or soak in a tub after a stressful day surrounded by soft music and candlelight. But these little escapes can significantly increase the air pollution in your bathroom or dining room. And they can expose you to cancer-causing substances.

Unless you use the right type of candles.

A recent study found that when you burn candles made from paraffin wax — the most common and least expensive kind – you pollute the air with cancer-causing substances. This makes sense, because paraffin candles contain petroleum by-products. When you burn them in a closed room, you risk breathing toxic air.

Of course, lighting a few candles occasionally most likely won’t cause any harm. Especially if they’re lit in a well-ventilated room. But if you tend to light a lot of candles frequently, it’s time to switch. Instead of cheap petroleum-based candles, try candles made from beeswax or soy. They don’t release toxic chemicals into the air. So they’re perfectly safe to use every day.

Oh, and if you have a lot of allergies, here’s another warning: Pay attention to how you feel when you’re in a room with lighted candles. What appears to be an allergic reaction to dust or pollen may be a reaction to the chemicals in the air from candles. This source of indoor pollution is simple to eliminate — if you know what to look for. And beeswax or soy candles, which are readily available on the Internet and in many candle stores, can solve the problem.

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American Chemical Society, August 21, 2009.

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