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Candle-lit dinners: air pollution source?

Burning candles made from paraffin wax – the most common kind used to infuse rooms with romantic ambiance, warmth, light, and fragrance – is an unrecognized source of exposure to indoor air pollution, including known human carcinogens, scientists say. Levels can build up in closed rooms, and be reduced by ventilation according to a study presented at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

 

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In the study, R. Massoudi Ph.D., and Amid Hamidi , Ph.D., said that candles made from bee’s wax or soy, although more expensive, apparently are healthier. They do not release potentially harmful amounts of indoor air pollutants while retaining all of the warmth, ambiance and fragrance of paraffin candles (which are made from petroleum).

“An occasional paraffin candle and its emissions will not likely affect you,” Hamidi said. “But lighting many paraffin candles every day for years or lighting them frequently in an un-ventilated bathroom around a tub, for example, may cause problems.” Besides the more serious risks, he also suggested that some people who believe they have an indoor allergy or respiratory irritation may in fact actually be reacting to air pollutants from burning candles.

 

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Candle-lit dinners: air pollution source?:  Created on August 20th, 2009.  Last Modified on July 22nd, 2010

 

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Other Articles by American Chemical Society

About American Chemical Society

The American Chemical Society — the world’s largest scientific society — is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

 

 

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