The Health Risks of Candles & My Favourite Alternatives

When I started my holistic journey 3 years ago after being misdiagnosed with depression (which was actually just a symptom of a hormonal imbalance – you can read my story here), there was one thing that kept popping up for me in this world of wellness, and that’s how fragrance can disrupt our endocrine system (our endocrine system basically controls our hormones and other bodily functions).

It was a huge eye opener for me when it comes to the ‘integrative approach’ to healing. I used to believe that so long as we ate well and exercised then this was a healthy lifestyle. But these days in our modern-day fast-paced, toxic and chemicalised world we live in, it takes much more than that.

There are a number of fragrances and perfumes as well as household cleaning products that pose potential health risks for us, but given the time of year I want to talk about candles.

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Candles – they look pretty, and they seem safe, but…

We love to light candles, especially at this time of year, they add warmth to the atmosphere and can add a fragrance to the room. But the cost to your health could outweigh adding warmth or fragrance to your living area.

Most candles contain paraffin with is a petroleum waste product that has to be deodorised and chemically bleached before it can be made into wax.

When a candle containing paraffin wax is burning it releases toxins the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes. No, they might not smell like diesel but the toxins released are the same. There are other toxic chemicals that can be found in candles that are also found in paint and varnish remover (it doesn’t get more toxic than that!)

“Petro-soot from paraffin candles gives off the same soot as the exhaust of a diesel engine, and is considered just as dangerous as second hand smoke, causing problems from headaches to lung cancer. Paraffin fumes have been found to cause tumours in the kidneys and liver of lab animals.” [Source.] 

Many candles also contain artificial scents and dyes, which release additional chemicals when burned.

And don’t even get me started on those air fresheners. They’re incredibly toxic, they smell awful, and they’ve been linked to lifelong health issues like asthma. And in the 2013 International Journal of Public Health, researchers found that pregnant women who had used air fresheners were “significantly more likely to have babies that suffered from wheezing and lung infections.”

When I made these discoveries about candles my heart sank because I LOVE candles!

So how are you going to warm the atmosphere and safely fragrant the air in your living area this Xmas? Here are some of my favourites for adding warmth and atmosphere to the home at Xmas…

  1. Lighting some natural candles free of harmful ingredients.: Soy-based candles or beeswax candles are the best alternative. They cost a bit more but your health is worth investing in.
  2. Put fairy lights everywhere: Fairy lights look gorgeous and they really add to the atmosphere in a room. Drape them over mirrors (you can get plugless ones with batteries), twist them round stairs, or put them over doorways – fairy lights pretty much go anywhere and everywhere!
  3. My favourite way to add scent: essential oils that are certified pure therapeutic grade (i.e. they contain no harmful fillers or synthetics), not only smell incredible but they are A-mazing for our health. Our minds and body reap the health benefits of these incredible oils on so many levels. I diffuse essential oils all year round, not just at Xmas. However, specifically for Xmas, these are some of my favourites:

White Fir, Wild Orange, Clove, Ginger, Cassia, Holiday Joy blend, and Cinnamon Bark.

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These essential oils not only create an incredible smell but you can breathe and inhale them safe in the knowledge that they’re 100% safe for your health. Just add 5-6 drops of your preferred oil to your diffuser (if you don’t have a diffuser I can recommend these) and diffuse away and fill your room with the beautiful aroma.

If you’d like to know how you can get some of these essential oils and learn different ways to use them, then just follow this link and if you have any questions I’d be more than happy to help!

Bridget xo

Grab your FREE eBook “5 Easy Steps To Boost Your Energy & Get Your Hormones Humming” by clicking the book!
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