Candles could cause cancer

Fumes from burning candles may be hazardous, claim scientists

Candles - Health News - Marie Claire
Candles - Health News - Marie Claire
(Image credit: Rex Features)

Fumes from burning candles may be hazardous, claim scientists

Fumes from the most common form of candle wax - paraffin wax - can be harmful and even cause cancer, a study suggests.

Researchers from South Carolina State University found that in unventilated rooms, paraffin candles emit chemicals such as toluene, which can cause dizziness, and benzene, a carcinogen found in tobacco smoke.

According to reports in the Telegraph, these chemicals build up over time and can cause health problems such as asthma and allergies. In some cases they can add to the risk of life threatening diseases such as cancer.

Amid Hamidi, co-author of the study, said: ‘An occasional paraffin candle and its emissions will not likely affect you. But lighting many paraffin candles every day for years or lighting them frequently in an unventilated bathroom around a tub, for example, may cause problems.’

Dr. Hamidi advised opening windows when burning paraffin candles to keep spaces well ventilated. The study included tests on beeswax and soy candles, which were found to be safer as they did not produce the harmful chemicals.

While the majority of candles on sale in the high street are made from paraffin wax, beeswax and soy candles are still available. John Lewis stock a range of soy candles, while for a wider selection of both beeswax and soy, try ordering from Bluecorn Naturals or BeEssence.


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