Candles and incense: a serious health hazard?

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By Jane

A candlelight dinner, a relaxing atmosphere while returning from work, a light fragrance to remove odors… doesn’t it sound beautiful?

Candles and incense have long ago invaded our homes. However, they often pollute the air we breathe in and breathe out. From tobacco to cleaning products, the sources of indoor air pollution are multiple. Candles and incense are one of the culprits for their harmful emissions. Even some governments are taking measure to control their use.

Typical measures and plans at governmental level are aimed at removing the most polluting of these fragrances from the commercial circuit: benzene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and other toxic or carcinogenic particles are released by these products, yet these fragrances are sold with the argument to purify the air in the first place.

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This pollution of confined spaces bears social, sanitary and financial costs and fuels a paradoxical anti-asthma drugs market. For example, in a country the size of France, asthma hits 3.5 million people and 50,000 people suffer from serious respiratory ailments.

Moreover, many incences sold today have failed toxicity tests, carried out by independent laboratories: this is why several governments – especially in Europe – are starting investigation into health problems caused by incense,  and intend to undertake a campaign of information and prevention for the general public, recommending to aerate at least ten minutes a day every confined space. There are similar concerns what is written on the label of these products.

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However, studies are still underway to determine which products emit the most harmful substances.

Meanwhile, lovers of fragrances had better change their habits. It is always recommended to keep your room ventilated and use essential oils instead of scented candles and incense sticks.

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