Is burning scented candles doing more harm than good? Here’s what expert says

Aromatherapy, which uses pleasant scents or scented essential oils to get therapeutic effects, has become more and more popular in recent years. Because of this, people have begun to use scented candles in their homes, offices and even during long baths. But today, a lot of medical professionals are alerting consumers to the possible risks related to burning scented candles that have been loaded with chemicals. Rather than getting their scent from natural oils, these candles normally use artificial fragrances and waxes that are petroleum-based, like paraffin or gel.

Dr. Saurabh Sethi, a Clinical Gastroenterologist, posted an Instagram video warning people to avoid lighting candles, which generate hazardous vapors and can damage the lungs. Sharing the video, Dr Sethi wrote, “Your favourite scented candles could be harming your lungs, leading to what’s termed “chemical pneumonia” What’s the issue? As candles burn, they release alkenes, found in car exhaust, which can harm lung tissues. Fumes from synthetic candles also emit paraffin and phthalates, potentially disrupting your hormonal balance.”

Watch the video here!

According to a 2023 study that was published in the journal Environmental Impact Assessment Review, burning some types of candles can release significant amounts of volatile chemicals including benzene and formaldehyde. These substances have been linked to respiratory problems, including exacerbating asthma. Additionally, experts think that certain synthetic fragrances used in candles may give people with strong sensitivity to smell nausea, dizziness and headaches.

Dr. Sethi recommends using candles made of vegetable, soy, or beeswax in instead of paraffin-based ones. These natural waxes don’t release any dangerous fumes because they are infused with essential oil. In general, they maintain better indoor air and release less smoke.