Candles Provide Warm Interior Lighting, But Are They Safe?

There is something warm, comforting and, dare we say, romantic about candlelight. There was a time when burning candles was necessary, but now with the wealth of contemporary lighting options that we have, burning candles is an indulgence.

And it seems to be an indulgence that lots of us really enjoy. According to the National Candle Association (yes, it is a thing):

  • Approximately 35% of candle sales occur during the Christmas/Holiday season. Non-seasonal business accounts for approximately 65% of candle sales.
  • More than 1 billion pounds of wax are used in producing the candles sold each year in the U.S.
  • It is estimated that more than 10,000 different candle scents are available to U.S. consumers.

 

Candle Cautions

You should never leave a burning candle unattended – that’s the first thing you need to remember if you want to safely light your interior spaces with candles.

As the Chicago Tribune reports, you should also be aware of what your candles are made of.   “Paraffin wax is made out of petroleum, while soy or other vegetable-based waxes and beeswax aren’t, said Ted Myatt, senior scientist at Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc., professor of environmental science at Brandeis University and director of research Integrity at the University of Rhode Island. A 2009 study by researchers at South Carolina State University found that long-term exposure to paraffin wax can be hazardous to your health and may cause poor indoor air quality,” the paper reported.

Certain scented candles also pose the possibility of contributing to indoor air pollution. And, of course, there is the issue of soot with some candles.

There are plenty of safe options if you want to use candles as bath lighting to treat yourself to a some relaxing “me time.” If you like using candles because of the fragrance, you can always investigate the use of essential oils, which might be a healthier than lighting your interiors with scented candles.