It’s that time of year, when many folks reach into the cupboards and pull out the apple, pumpkin, and gingerbread scented candles. Unfortunately, recent studies show that using scented candles and air fresheners can be hazardous to your health. Better to stick with diffusing essential oils, or simmering orange peels and cinnamon sticks on your stove top.  

A friend at Shakti Whole Health Studio shared this with me, and I wanted to share it with you, as well. 

From MSN:  

New Study Finds Scented Candles and Air Fresheners Pose Dangerous Health Risks


Autumn is the perfect time get out those scented candles and stock up on new ones. Apple pie, pumpkin spice and pine forest are some of our fall favorites. Now, because of the results from recent studies, we may have to change our ways.

John Naish of the Daily Mail has found shocking evidence to suggest that these convenient products are actually making us quite sick. And it’s not just candles; apparently “aerosols, plug-ins, gels and incense sticks” should also be added to the danger list. 

Researchers discovered that extended, long-term use of these items can cause tumors, lung damage and asthma. Not only that, their chemicals can actually transform the structure of our DNA.

If you’re one of the many who enjoys burning incense in your home, you may be shocked to find out that the chemicals found in scents like frankincense can cause cancerous mutations of DNA. Those chemicals can get trapped in your lungs, setting off “dangerous inflammatory reactions,” according to Naish. Some types of incense, such as agarwood and sandalwood, are even more toxic to our DNA than tobacco smoke. 

As for air fresheners, they’ve been linked to lifelong health issues like asthma and an interference with hormones. Public Health England’s Center for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards found that these fresheners contain “considerable levels of formaldehyde,” which can cause nose and throat cancer. 

In a 2013 International Journal of Public Health study, researchers found that pregnant women who had used air fresheners were “significantly more likely to have babies that suffered from wheezing and lung infections.”  But SC Johnson, who produces the Glade air fresheners, claims that its products are completely safe. Can we determine that for sure? Women’s Voices for the Earth thinks not. They believe the air fresheners interfere with babies’ hormonal development.

The scariest part about what scientists found was that you don’t even need to light the candle for it to be dangerous to your health.”Simple evaporation will enable them to pollute your home,” reports the Daily Mail. “Other studies show the chemicals are capable of being absorbed by the body simply through touching the candles.”

Once lit, scented candles can produce dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde and paraffin, and long-term exposure can raise your risk for respiratory issues and cancer. 

Are these findings enough for you to blow that candle out? Or is it too difficult to part ways with their addictive aromas? Honestly, we’re on the fence. 


Photo credit: “(384-365) Candle light (6391517873)” by Sander van der Wel from Netherlands – [384/365] Candle light. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –