Many houses throughout the country burn scented candles all year-round. With ocean scents for summer and pumpkin spice for fall, it’s easy to see why certain smells make a home feel cozy and safe. But there is a real danger lurking behind the dreamy smells, and it’s not just a fire hazard.
New Jersey mother, Meghan Budden, is warning other parents to be on the lookout for troubling signs in their infants. She noticed alarming dots inside her son’s nose while nursing. She says Jimmy’s nostrils were peppered with black spots and then she also noticed the same spots on her towels. She says she eventually realized it was soot from her scented candles.
Cashins & Associates, health consultants, say the inhalation of small particles, like the soot from candles is associated with cardiovascular disease, asthma, bronchitis, and respiratory diseases in general. They say that 20,000 people in the United States die each year from soot particles. The health consultants also link soot to around 300,000 asthma attacks each year.
As Meghan found out, the particles in soot are almost undetectable to the eye. Experts recommend that if you are going to burn candles in a closed area, like your home or office, that you do not let them burn for more than a few hours at a time. In fact, it was the warning label on her scented candle that tipped Meghan off that it was soot accumulating in her son’s nose. Experts also say that you should trim the wick regularly and if you see any soot blowing up from the candle to put it out right away.
Another possible danger to be on the lookout for with scented candles is limonene. Limonene is an organic compound that many makers use for a citrus aroma. It’s so prevalent that lots of lemon scented candles contain limonene rather than a natural lemon. Now, limonene is perfectly harmless when left alone, but when it reacts with ozone—it turns into formaldehyde. One way that limonene comes into contact with the ozone is by being burned and released into the air. The resulting formaldehyde is not harmless. It’s known to be toxic and has a cancer risk.
If you’re not ready to give up scented candles entirely, it’s suggested that you make sure to open doors and windows after use. Read the warning labels and follow the guidelines suggested on the brand of the candle in your home. Or, you could try making your own candles using essential oils, that way you know exactly what’s wafting through the air of your safe space. And if all of this has made you too nervous to burn scented candles within your house, there’s always the option to stop burning candles inside all together and turn to an oil diffuser to make your home feel cozy.
The good news is that Meghan’s son, Jimmy, is OK. She caught the issue in time. She is hoping her story will help other people who may not be aware of the dangers lurking in the air of their own home.
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