How are scented candles toxic? They smell so nice! 

Scents can be relaxing and invigorating—burning one is a popular way of creating a pleasant ambience at home. During the holidays, many people seek the warm glow and aroma of pine, gingerbread, or cinnamon to make a room feel more festive. 

Unfortunately, most mass-produced scented candles can have a negative impact on indoor air quality. The average scented candle can release harmful chemicals into the air — even when unlit –– from the wax to the wick to the fragrance itself.

Let's look at paraffin wax, for example: Even though it's vegan & cruelty-free, it doesn't mean it's good for you and your health!

Why? Well, paraffin wax is now proven to be toxic in its use as a candle.


So To What Extent Are Scented Candles Toxic Or Harmful To Our Health?


According to a 2017 study, paraffin candles emit pollutants that can threaten human health and shouldn't be burned in enclosed areas. 

The majority of candles are made from paraffin, a petroleum byproduct. The process of creating paraffin wax candles involves bleaching, deodorizing, and melting petroleum waste. It is known that when paraffin wax is kindled, toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released into the air, including carcinogens like:  

  • Alkenes
  • Acetone
  • Benzene
  • Toluene 


The same chemicals are found in diesel fuel emissions and are likely to cause allergies such as, asthma attacks, and skin problems, and candles made of paraffin wax emit low levels of benzene even when it’s sitting at room temperature. 


The Chemical Fragrance: Is It Worth Every ‘Scent’? 

The main problem with scented candles is that the candles that emit a pleasing aroma are generally created with chemicals that aren't very wholesome. Even at room temperature, the artificial fragrances and dyes of scented candles emit dangerous VOCs, including: 

  • Formaldehyde 
  • Petroleum Distillates
  • Limonene
  • Alcohol
  • Esters 


These harmful chemicals can cause serious health risks, such as: 


  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Allergy Symptoms
  • Asthma Attacks
  • Respiratory Tract Infections
  • Cancer


Cored Wicks: All Metal 'Lead' To Harm

Many candles use cored wicks made of cotton wrapped around metal support. The design prevents the wick from falling into the wax. 

But why are candles toxic? If they have lead in them, possibly. Candle wicks once contained lead. In the course of burning, all metal-core wicks release trace amounts of heavy metals into the atmosphere. Even wicks with zinc and tin cores can release small amounts of lead. 

However, after determining that these wicks could present a lead-poisoning hazard to young children, The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned manufacturing and selling all candles with lead-core wicks in 2003. Zinc and tin have been used as a substitute since the ban.


Safer Alternatives To Scented Candles

Try to avoid the use of these types of candles to limit soot stains and poor air quality in your home. But if you still crave the pleasant ambience and aroma of scented candles, here are safer ways to scent the air: 

  • Use naturally-derived essential oils for Aromatherapy: Essential oils can be placed in a diffuser or bathwater to create a desired aroma.
  • Create potpourri: Dried items such as flowers, berries, fruit rinds, wood chips, and spices can be placed in bowls or fabric bags and placed around your home.
  • Use our plant-powered diffusers: Ripple+ offers a 100% nicotine-free puff bar that is plant-powered and features a unique blend of all-natural ingredients, created while keeping every mood in mind


Final Thoughts

Are scented candles toxic to the environment as well? Lighting an aromatic candle is a relaxing way to enjoy your home. But burning scented candles releases and fills your space with toxic chemicals which contributes to worsening your environment’s air quality.

With the adverse effects of scented candles on the environment and yourself, our plant-based nicotine-free portable diffusers promote a relaxing lifestyle and the stress-relieving properties of natural aromas. With the release of our ripple+ POD, and ripple⁺ MAX diffusers, aromatherapy is now wholesome and 100% eco-friendly.