Scented Candles Could Kill You — Very, Very Slowly

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Recently we learned that dishwasher mold probably isn’t going to kill you. However, there are plenty of other household items planning your demise. Candles are a silent killer that lurks on our nightstands and dining room tables — If you believe the latest panicky headlines.

Today the Daily Mail (of course) has a very thorough rundown of the dangers posed by scented candles. You may think you’re just covering your tracks in the bathroom, but certain candles, “produce smoke laced with almost as many toxins as those produced by cigarettes.” Cheap candles are usually made of paraffin wax, rather than harmless beeswax or soy, and can produce various volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Scented candles often contain synthetic fragrances or dyes that produce harmful particles when heated. Cored wicks, which contain metal or paper, can produce soot containing particles of zinc, tin, lead and cadmium.

A recent study also found that candle can give off carcinogens and chemicals that cause asthma attacks. From the Daily Mail:

Dr Amid Hamidi of South Carolina University, who led the study, showed that paraffin-based candles produced “clear sharp peaks” for many chemicals, mainly because they do not reach high enough temperatures when being burned to destroy the hazardous molecules they emit.
“An occasional paraffin candle and its emissions will probably not affect you,” he said. “But lighting many of them every day for years, or lighting them frequently in an unventilated bathroom, for example, may cause problems.”

Experts from the British Lung Foundation agree that lighting the occasional candle is harmless, though it’s “sensible to light them only in well-ventilated rooms and for short periods of time.” So if you’re constantly surrounding your bed with hundreds of votive candles like they do on soap operas, you may want to find another way to signal to your partner that sex is imminent. (Display a painting of waves crashing on the beach, perhaps?) The rest of us should crack a window when we light a candle and stop inhaling fumes emitted by things we picked up at the dollar store. Let’s save the hysteria for another day, particularly because we have a sneaking suspicion that shampoo has been plotting against us.

Could Scented Candles Kill You? [Daily Mail]

Earlier: Your Dishwasher Is Gross, But It Won’t Kill You

Image via Poznyakov/Shutterstock.

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