Scented candles can cause asthma and lung cancer, study finds

15 October 2019, 11:39

Is your scented candle safe? (stock images)
Is your scented candle safe? (stock images). Picture: Getty

A study has claimed that scented candles made of paraffin can cause breathing difficulties and health conditions

It's finally that time of year we all put away our summer clothes, dig out our big jumpers and contemplate putting the heating on - and stocking up on scented candles is a high priority on our list.

But a study has claimed that candles made of paraffin, which the majority are, can cause a number of health issues - including asthma, breathing difficulties and even lung cancer.

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Paraffin wax is derived from petroleum, coal or shale oil - which can release cancer-causing chemicals when burnt. They can be especially harmful when breathed in by people with respiratory problems.

It is unlikely that breathing in scented candles in moderation will cause any health issues (stock image)
It is unlikely that breathing in scented candles in moderation will cause any health issues (stock image). Picture: Getty

Some candle brands use a wick in which the cotton is wrapped around another material - such as metal - which can produce a toxic soot that can lead to lung problems.

Scientist at South Carolina University have claimed that, if someone is exposed to fumes released by candles longterm, they could be at risk of asthma, lung problems and cancer.

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Dr Ruhullah Massoudi said: “The paraffin candles we tested released unwanted chemicals into the air.

"For a person who lights a candle every day for years or just uses them frequently, inhalation of these dangerous pollutants drifting in the air could contribute to the development of health risks like cancer, common allergies and even asthma."

But it's not all doom and gloom - as the researchers also noted that it is highly unlikely that someone who is only exposed sometimes to the candles will experience any problems.

The British Lung Foundation said, according to The Sun: "We would like to reassure people that occasional use of paraffin candles should not pose any risk to their lung health.

"However, we would advise people to take sensible precautions when burning candles, such as opening a window to keep the room ventilated to minimise the amount of emissions breathed in."


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