On a chilly afternoon, there can be something soothing about lighting a scented candle and filling the home with aromas of vanilla, pumpkin spice or lavender. Maybe you already have those fragrances wafting in every room with a scented plugin.
As soothing as they might smell, as your trusted New Jersey urgent care provider, we want you to think twice before lighting that candle or plugging in a fragrance box. Because when it comes to indoor air quality and your health, many studies show that they are both significant pollutants. Thankfully, through natural alternatives, you can still create an aromatic scent throughout the home without stirring up your indoor allergies and asthma.
Dangers of Scented Candles
Many studies show that scented candles pose dangerous health risks; so you might want to think twice before lighting up that sugar-cookie candle.
Besides the clear fact that candles pose a dangerous fire risk especially if you have children, they also give off smoke which can irritate people with nasal allergies. To those with a sensitive nose, a scented candle can be no different than cigarette smoke and trigger uncomfortable symptoms such as a runny nose, watery eyes and headaches.
Burning paraffin wax also produces soot with particles that can remain in the air for hours after being burned. In size and composition, these ultrafine soot particles are similar to diesel exhaust and can penetrate deeply into the lungs. A study by the Environmental Protection Agency shows that candles with more fragrance in them produce more soot; the agency suggests choosing unscented candles to reduce this leftover debris.
Additionally, many mass-produced candles on the market are made with paraffin wax, a petroleum byproduct; many also use synthetic fragrances and dyes. When burned, they release toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air (including acetone, benzene and toluene), that not only trigger indoor allergies and asthma but are also known carcinogens.
Scented Plugins Pose Health Risks
Many people who are cautious about the flames of candles often turn to scented plugins. However, it’s not just scented candles making us sick; plug-ins, gels and aerosols are also irritating to our airways and troubling to our health. The chemicals found in the fragrance and wax have researchers fearing that long-term use of these items may also lead to allergy irritation and asthma.
Safer Scent Alternatives to Prevent Indoor Allergies and Asthma
If you’re still longing for that soothing ambiance of a candle, don’t despair. As an alternative to traditional candles, non-toxic soy or beeswax candles produce less soot, burn slower (lasting about 30% longer) and are less likely to trigger indoor allergies or asthma.
Or try an even safer way to scent your home and add some humidity to the air at the same time through diffusion. Essential oil diffusers create a wonderful aroma with therapeutic benefits. Depending on the oil used, diffusing oils such as lavender, peppermint and frankincense can deodorize the household air of odor, promote a calm environment and support respiration all while leaving your home smelling great.
eMedical Urgent Care Walk-In Medical Clinic
At eMedical Urgent Care, we take your health very seriously. And part of maintaining your health is maintaining good indoor air quality. If you feel that you or your child is suffering from asthma, see a doctor at one of our locations. Walk-in treatment for asthma and allergies is available at eMedical Urgent Care in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707. Our convenient hours are designed to fit your busy schedule.