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One hour of scented candle burning can be the equivalent of smoking a single cigarette

“Soot from candles can also pose a real threat to our respiratory systems”, said Andrew Sledd, a pediatrician with a specialty in Environmental Toxicology.

Dermatologist Dr. Ranella Hirsch’s view differs.  She stated that exposure to chemicals emitted by scented candles raised no concern: “Even the highest users of scented candles and other fragranced products are not putting themselves at any appreciable risk of harm.”

In these times when the recommendations of the media are often coupled with an agenda and cannot be fully trusted, we have to find out more for ourselves and go with our own instincts.

I dug deeper…..and of course found that the result depends on the type of candle we burn.

The popular Tealight candles can burn for up to five hours with a gentle ambient light. They produce a respectable 30+ watts of power which helps keep things warm. 

Tealights have traditionally been made from paraffin, giving offToluene and Benzene, both known carcinogens.

Toluene specifically induces DNA strand breakdowns which affect the central nervous system.  The petro-soot released from paraffin candles are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes.

Inhaling these fumes in an unventilated room CAN impact your respiration.

The Clean Candle Movement

Candles are going the way of skin care. People want to know what they’re putting on their skin and what they’re breathing in

Soy wax, beeswax and coconut wax are all good options so make sure labels say the candles are 100% soy or beeswax (companies like to create blends with paraffin wax because it’s cheaper).

Beeswax candles are my choice. Made from the caps of bee honeycombs, beeswax candles burn clean, are very long-burning, and give off a pleasant natural fragrance as they burn. 

When burned properly beeswax candles are dripless and release negative ions which help clean the air in a room.

Christmas is coming

Every year the Fire and Rescue Service in Kent responds to more than 20 candle fires in the home. Whatever candle you choose to use, be smart and protect yourself, your family and your home by following these common sense Fire Safety tips:

  • candles should be fitted in a candle holder, placed on a non-flammable surface.
  • they should not be left unattended when burning, especially with young children or pets in the house.
  • make sure candles aren’t burning close to curtains, bedding, clothing or even plants which might catch fire.
  • be sure not place burning candles on window sills or on the floor.
  • extinguish all candles before going to bed.
  • burning candles shouldn’t be placed anywhere where they might be knocked over or caught in a draught.
  • buy ceramic containers that are well ventilated, containers will get very hot and may make the flame larger and cause it to flare up.
  • be sure not allow anything to fall into the molten wax as this can form a secondary wick.
  • it is best not to move candles when they are alight or
  • while the wax is molten.
  • remember to buy a smoke alarm and test it regularly


Graeme Dinnen

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