Image by Jan Zatloukal from Pixabay

The holiday season is coming, and this means that people will be lighting more candles as part of their celebrations, but are candles necessarily that good for your health? This is this week’s “burning question” as it seems that some types of candles can produce enough toxins and allergens to produce indoor air pollution. This is also important to note if you are keeping candles handy in case of an electricity interruption due to storms.

The Cheaper the Candle The More Likely It Is Toxic

It may seem that cheerful candles are plentiful at the dollar and corner stores, but the dismal fact is that these candles are made from paraffin wax, which is a byproduct of oil refining. However, it is the paraffin itself that is the worst toxic culprit, with fumes containing carcinogens such as acrolein, acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, toluene and benzene. Remember that when you buy a paraffin candle you are also supporting the oil industry and their questionable environmental practices.

Toxic Wicks

Lead and metal wicks are less common than they were, as they were officially banned in most countries by 2003. However, the wicks of some older candles may have a lead or aluminum core that releases toxic emissions. If you have stashed away candles for emergencies purchased from stores with old stock you may be putting your health at risk.

According to an article by Micheal Bloch on Candles and the Environment, some lead core candles can emit lead levels in excess of 3000 micrograms, more than seven times the level that is considered safe for lead. 

Synthetic Aromatics in Candles

Many scented candles contain synthetic aromatics that are made purely from chemicals that can cause damage to the brain, lung, and central nervous system, as well as cause developmental difficulties. Synthetic scents emit tiny particles that are so small that thousands of them can fit on the tip of a hair. 

If you are going to burn candles try and choose natural, unscented alternatively made ones that are made from renewable resources. 

Soy wax candles are a good choice because they produce less soot than a paraffin candle and although they may be much more expensive, they last twice as long as a paraffin candle. 

Beeswax candles are the optimum choice as they help clean the air as they burn. They release negative ions, which help to clear pollen, spores, bacteria, and viruses. They also burn the longest of all of the candles on the market.

However, keep in mind that anyone who burns anything, natural or no, scented, or unscented is always going to be naturally at risk for inhaling particulate indoor pollution.

Do you suffer environmental illnesses like chronic fatigue, asthma, or allergies? For more information about how to deal with environmental illnesses, or to book a consultation about anti-aging, naturopathic testing, Toronto weight loss programs, or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products at You can also call our Toronto Office at (416)-656- 8100. We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. Send an email to and we would be happy to answer any questions that you have about our holistic health services

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