There’s something about a crisp fall day that inspires some to light a candle and fill the room with scents of pumpkin spice, apple cider and evergreen.
While a pleasant sensory experience, some may soon find themselves sneezing.
It would be nice to think a pumpkin pie was melted and shaped into a pillar of wax that leaves you with a warm, happy feeling once lit. But the truth is many scented candles are filled with chemicals and metals that create the good smells.
Medical practitioners are identifying more patients who have fragrance allergies or sensitivities that lead to discomfort.
“Being near a burning, scented candle can cause allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes and even headaches,” said Ed Neuzil, ARNP, PhD and owner of the Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Family Health Center in Lady Lake, Florida. “In extreme cases, some people exhibit breathing difficulties and wheezing. Additionally, some people are sensitive to the soot released from the flame.”
Experts suspect that fragrance allergies are becoming more prominent because fragrances are more prevalent in products such as shampoos, lotions, cleaning supplies and cosmetics. They recommend the following tips to minimize candle soot pollution:
- Because many scented and slow burning candles may contain metals, consumers should look to see if the core of the wick is shiny metal. If you see metal, do not burn, or check with the manufacturer.
- When you do burn candles, keep the wicks cut short to one-quarter of an inch. A longer wick causes a larger flame and thus more soot.
- Do not shake or tip candles because the candle can smoke and send soot into the air to land on walls, carpets and furniture.
- Keep candles in places away from children and pets. Besides fire hazard, small children and animals may accidentally disturb a candle, causing it to smoke and release soot.
- Refrain from burning scented or slow-burning candles that have additives. Look for candles, such as beeswax, that do not contain high levels of pollutants.