A Serious Look Into the Health Effects of Candles
The dangers of candles and incense cannot be understated. That's right. Quit burning those things in your home. They pose a significant potential health risk.
An Advisory From the EPA
Still need more convincing? Please consider an original advisory from the EPA in 2001 marking candles and incense as a significant source of indoor air pollutants. The concern at that time was largely surrounding accumulation of soot and lead based pollutants in your home. Over time, we have expanded our concerns surrounding incense and candles. It is now believed that the soot can not only damage your health, but it can also damage your home and your possessions due to chemical build-up.
As for all of your candles potentially older than 2003, THROW THEM AWAY. They did not ban lead-based wicks until 2003 therefore you could be releasing lead all throughout your home if you fire up that old candle! Exposure to lead has been linked to numerous health problems such as learning disabilities, hormone disruption, and behavioral problems just to name a few.
Further, most candles (and mostly all scented products on the market) have synthetic or soy based fragrance oils. Please use caution with these synthetic fragrances. Be advised of a 2011 report that stated "scented consumer goods showed the products emitted more than 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including some that are classified as toxic or hazardous by federal laws.1 Even products advertised as “green,” “natural,” or “organic” emitted as many hazardous chemicals as standard ones". How is that for greenwashing and product deception!
Please allow my rant to continue at this point regarding fragrances. Synthetic fragrances are derived from petrochemicals. Many of these petrochemicals are on the EPA's hazardous waste list! We have got to get these candles, and therefore all other commerically scented products, out of our home. Please take a moment to search for the ingredients in your everyday products. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is quickly becoming one of our favorite resources on the path to good health.
How do we avoid this mess? Change our products. The way I did it was switching to a natural alternative in essential oils. I chose Young Living's essential oils because of their Seed to Seal promise. The Seed to Seal promise assures you that Young Living owns every part of the essential oil manufacturing process from seed, to plant, to distillation, to bottling. There is no other company that provides as much transparency about their process! Trust me, we have called and messaged other leading manufacturers of essential oils to ask where their farms are located so that we can take a visit and guess what... most of them don't even know! This is very important as most essential oils on the market are fragrance grade whereas Young Living essential oils are therapeutic grade.
Please remember, overuse of any compound (even certain essential oils) is likely to land you in trouble and eliminate any potential benefits so do your research and do not hesitate to consult with your physician. Please exercise safety and common sense. Further, three of additional resources that we often consult are: the essential oils desk reference, the animal desk reference, and gentle babies reference book.
Now I can certainly empathize with those who love a pleasing aroma and a good scent. The only way most of us know how to get that is with harsh sprays and dangerous candles. There is more to it than that. Please understand, as a Pennsylvania resident, I enjoy watching the arrival of the Fall foliage all while enjoying the accompanying crisp weather, falling leaves, changing colors and the wonderful pumpkin and apple aromas and flavors.
We can still enjoy all of this, without the associated health risks that come from candles, incense, and fragrances. I still remember how I used to run to the mall and buy a pumpkin scented candle, an apple plug-in, or a spiced air freshener just to facilitate the aromas of the Fall season. I just did not know any better! Most of us do not! I started to do some research and began investigating my choices and ingredients in products that I was using in my home and I found out how toxic these products were for my health and well-being. This is ultimately how I knew these "natural" and "organic" fragrance products are not all they are cracked up to be!
For those of you that are still skeptical, I will give you one more reason to avoid using these scented commercial products. Formaldehyde! The American Cancer Society has quite a write up for Formaldehyde. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) - which is formed by several large agencies such as the NIH, the CDC, and the FDA - lists formaldehyde as "known to be a human carcinogen."
If I have not convinced you by now to get rid of products such as candles, incense, and cleaners then I do not suppose I ever will! Even when I talk to my students about chemicals and harmful effects from tobacco use, formaldehyde is one of the carcinogens we highlight. If Formaldehyde is a chemical released from tobacco products and is used in the embalming process at the morgue, then why would I want that in my home? Some say inhaling scents from candles or sprays is the equivalent to inhaling second hand smoke, which is actually even more dangerous than actually smoking the cigarette itself. I later learned that companies actually use synonyms or formaldehyde-releasers instead of using Formaldehyde.
My head was spinning! I could either choose to cave under all the information, or decide to start educating others. That is the reason for our site and this blog. I am an educator at heart and do not want to sell you on some MLM scheme where you become a cold calling, door knocking, salesperson. Yes, there is a business side to Young Living if you want. But this is not necessary if you just want to be a product consumer. I am involved in both the consumer and the business aspect because I find that I am simply referring a product I love. We do this all the time folks! Think of how you give your iPhone a free plug. Or how much you love your new car and you are not afraid to tell others. This is just a way of sharing with your community. Using, and thereby sharing about, Young Living essential oils is very natural!
Some Additional Thoughts...
Please do not be afraid to ditch the candles or the incense. Using a diffuser has the potential to be a much better alternative. Remember, be smart and use your references when diffusing.
I fell in love with diffusing my essential oils because you can customize the recipes everyday for you and your family. They are an economical alternative as well. Previously I was spending anywhere from $15 to $20 on a candle at the store. Now, with a diffuser I can spread out using those little brown oil bottles over several months (sometimes over a year).
Young Living oils are very stable and DO NOT EXPIRE since they are pure, 100% therapeutic grade essential oils. Per diffuser, I use up to 9 drops total (I often use less!). The 15 ml bottle contains about 250 drops. My husband often only uses 1 drop in the diffuser which means you have 250 days of use if you use it everyday!
Our favorite diffusers are the Desert Mist and the Lantern Diffuser. Both are beautiful. They both have twelve different light settings - one of the settings is actually a "candle flicker" for those who have the hardest time parting with your candles! The Desert Mist diffuser is included in the Premium Starter Kit which is a kit that a majority of our new oilers use to get started!
I quickly found some Fall diffuser blends that gave my home the warm and cozy feeling without exposure to many of the concerns listed above. We have even found some great ways to make our own diffusers out of pine cones or using reeds.
When reading through my recipes, if you do not have an essential oil just simply remove it from the recipe and experiment with the recipes to find ones you enjoy. Remember, it’s important to educate yourself on safety when considering animals and children. I have listed great resources on my supplies page to help you make the best decisions for you. I always recommend starting slow by only using a few drops in the recipe blend and not adding the entire recipe to the diffuser.
To My New Readers...
If you are new to essential oils and do not have any of your own, consider a premium starter kit from Young Living. This is widely regarded as the simplest way to get started with essential oils. When signing up for your first kit, you will have the opportunity to choose one of our leaders. This is an important step as they will provide you with ongoing support for the lifetime of your Young Living journey at no added cost to you! You can do this simply by visiting the our team page and selecting the individual you would like as your direct upline.
Further, by signing up as a member you will also receive tons of additional promotions such as saving 24% off retail pricing on future purchases of Young Living products.
If you have not done so already, please subscribe below for the latest updates, offers, and promotions exclusive to our essential oil community!
Disclosure: These posts may contain affiliate links wherein I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you.
The Oil Sister
My name is Missy and I am the owner of Essentially Well LLC and the primary author of "The Oil Sister". Challenging myself to learn about natural health and wellness has been a life-changing experience for me. I want to share what I have learned with YOU!
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