Like many people I am very sensitive to scented candles, perfumes and scented household products. Sometimes I get a headache if I’m around someone wearing perfume or in a house where scented candles are burning. There is lots of buzz right now about the dangers of perfumes in personal care products such as shampoos, soaps, shaving creams, dish soaps, laundry detergents, but what about fragrance candles?
In the search to better understand why scented candles are so bothersome I came across information on how they increase indoor air pollution and release toxic compounds into the air.
Fragrance - Fragrance candles contain toxic chemicals including acetone, benzaldehyde, benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, camphor, ethanol, ethyl acetate, limonene, linalool, and methylene chloride. These chemicals can cause minor issues such as dizziness, drowsiness, lung irritation, headache and fatigue. And more serious complications such as reproductive disorders, nervous system disorders, kidney damage and respiratory failure. Candles with fragrance may also have chemicals which “throw” the scent making it fill a room and making the scent stronger.
Phthalates - Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics like PVC more flexible. Phthalates are found toys, hoses, shower curtains, vinyl flooring and are used in scented candles to uphold fragrances. Phthalates can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and cause reproductive issues in men.
Pure Essential Oils –Luckily, pure essential oils are a great alternative to synthetic fragrance. Pure essential oils are extracted plant leaves, stems, flowers, peels, bark or roots, generally through the process of steam distillation. They are considered pure and natural and don’t contain chemical compounds (not to be confused with botanical fragrance, natural oils, aromatherapy oils etc., which are synthetic.) Paraffin candles cannot be scented with pure essential oils as the petro-chemicals in paraffin wax will break the oils down. We have natural beeswax Candles with essential oils in both 3 oz. tins and votives.
TIP: When shopping for products containing essential oils, make sure the label says pure essential oils. Some products hide the use of fragrance by making the chemicals sound better i.e. botanical fragrance, natural fragrance, perfume oils, natural oils etc. If you’re unsure whether your product contains pure essential oils or not, you can research how toxic it is at http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com. The Skin Deep Database is such a great resource where you can look up your products and see their toxicity rating. You might be surprised what you find! Andrea
For more information about the dangers of fragrances: