One of the most beautiful aspects of fall? Light up those dark days with lots of burning candles. However, these daily rituals don’t always seem completely harmless, toxicologists explain. This is why burning too many candles in your home can be harmful to your health.
Burning too many candles at home seems bad for your health
Do you light one or two candles in your home every day? Don’t worry, it won’t hurt anyway. This mainly relates to the repeated burning of many candles at the same time, Toxicologist Theo de Kock explains to NU.nl. What is this like? Candles have a certain emission, because there is often “incomplete combustion”. This releases combustion products that aren’t necessarily good for you, and experts compare this to smoking tobacco or barbecuing. “These substances are carcinogenic and accumulate in the room,” says de Kock. However, there is no immediate reason for panic. “We’ve adapted to this evolutionarily over the centuries, and we can take a hit,” he explains.
It also depends on a lot – such as how the candle burns, whether there is good ventilation in the house and the type of candle. Candles containing paraffin seem to be the biggest culprits, and with natural candles the risk of contamination seems to be least at the moment. “I would strive for the purest candle possible,” says Ad Rajas, professor of human and environmental risk assessment. However, there are still too many unknowns to make definitive statements here, according to experts.
Tips for burning candles responsibly
The most “healthy” way to burn candles? “Do it sparingly and avoid the black fumes.” As toxicologist Martin van den Berg explains to Radar. The most important thing is that soot or black smoke does not get into the room.
In addition, make sure that the candle does not flicker and therefore burns evenly, and it is preferable to keep the wick short. Try to properly ventilate the room in which you are lighting candles, but do not place candles in a place with a large draft. You can do this, for example, by turning on the extractor hood. You can also take this into consideration when blowing out the candle. According to toxicologist Theo de Kock, it is best to do this with two wet fingers. Do you find this unpleasant? Then blow them up first before using this trick.
Fortunately, toxicologist Martin van den Berg reassures us somewhat. “Every combustion is bad if you take in too much toxic material. But we shouldn’t be too afraid either. It also shows that we can have very little. Did you know that this set of Hema twisted candles is flying over the table?”
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