Your Favorite Holiday Candle Could Be Making You Sick—Here’s How

You might want to stay away from scented candles from now on.

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There’s nothing quite like a great smelling candle. Whether it be a bubble bath or a movie marathon on the couch, candles make everything that much better (here’s the right way to light candles, by the way). Sadly, you might want to think twice before re-stocking once your wick burns out. Numerous studies over the past 10 plus years show that fragrant candles, air fresheners, and incense are linked to all kinds of health risks, including cancers, asthma, and infections.

At this point, you’re probably wondering how something that smells so good can be so bad. Well, according to a recent study conducted by San Diego State University, burning candles and incense increases the number of harmful particles that pollute indoor air. So, it’s not the candle itself that’s dangerous, but its smoke and chemicals, including formaldehyde and paraffin, that are released into the air as they’re burned.

A similar 2009 study conducted at South Caroline State University also found that exposure to certain candle emissions over a long period of time not only contributes to poor indoor air quality, but may also be harmful to human health and even cause cancer, asthma, and allergies.

And a 2013 study published in the International Journal of Public Health, explains that pregnant women who use air fresheners are much more likely to have babies that suffer from wheezing and lung infections.

The National Candle Association, however, disputes these claims and argues that burning candles have no associated health risks.

So does this mean you need to stop burning candles altogether? Not quite.

If you enjoy the relaxing vibe candles create and don’t really care about the smell, consider using fragrant-free ones or soy versions. If it’s not the candle and just the pleasant smells you want, try a diffuser with essential oils. And follow these 15 surprising ways to cut down on your indoor pollution.

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