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Expert: Scented candles release toxic chemicals that go ‘straight into the lungs’

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An Australian researcher has warned that enjoying the light of scented candles can be detrimental to health due to the toxic chemicals that pollute a home when they are burned.

Speaking to 7News, Dr. Svetlana Stefanovich, a professor at Deakin University at Warren Ponds in Victoria, explained that “candles and any smells they emit are associated with the release of volatile organic compounds, as well as fine particles that remain in the air,” adding that “the combustion process releases particles that go straight into our lungs.”

“It is well known that it causes a range of different negative health effects,” she said.

Nearly all candle scents are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and air pollutants found in common household products such as paint, furniture polish, and wallpaper.

The health problems resulting from the release of these compounds depend on the level and duration of exposure.

According to the EPA, people can experience irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, headaches, nausea, or even damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system.

Previous studies have reduced the harmful health effects of burning scented candles. A 2014 study published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology concluded that “under normal circumstances” the use of scented candles poses no known health risk.

Meanwhile, German scientists funded by the European Candle Society tested key types of wax for toxic chemicals in a 2007 study that also found that candle emissions pose no obvious risk to human health or indoor air quality.

Stefanovich warned that candles and other scented products that give a home a special scent could cause allergies or headaches. She noted that symptoms may be worse in those with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

She estimates that a third of the population is sensitive to odors, and because of their ever-changing nature, candles become more toxic as they burn, especially indoors.

“Outside, you have wind, you have a lot of softening, you have more air mass, but indoors the air volume is small and we don’t exchange air, we basically put new pollutants into the air,” she said. added.

Stefanovich noted that labeling flavored products as “organic” or “natural” does not guarantee their safety. Explaining that the phrase “natural” does not mean that if we inhale it all the time, it is good for us, so we should do everything in moderation”, emphasizing that opening windows and doors or investing in “green spaces” is key to maintain a safe and well ventilated area.

Source: New York Post.

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