The Good Life

Candle Problems

If you’re planning a romantic dinner, you may want to re-think the kind of candles you’re using. Paraffin wax candles, used mainly for ambiance, fragrance and light, may also contribute to air pollution inside your home.

In a study presented at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting in Washington, researchers say the candles, which are made from petroleum, are a source of known human carcinogens and indoor pollution. But they found that candles made from beeswax or soy, although more expensive, apparently are safer because they do not release potentially harmful pollutants.

Besides the more serious risks from paraffin, the researchers say that if you think you have an indoor allergy or respiratory irritation, you may actually be reacting to pollutants from burning candles.

Of course, it’s a matter of degree: Occasional use of paraffin won’t harm you and  ventilation can help reduce the level of pollutants in closed rooms.

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