Why Candles and Air Fresheners Cost Us Wellness

As a full-throttle introvert, I clung onto candles for a longgg time. They were there for my date with the bathtub, they brought light on rainy days and they just gave me that all around comforted feeling. Plus, I thought they were effective at making my home smell better.

But when I got serious about living a toxin-free life, I realized very quickly that the candles had to go.

Just like other common chemicals in the home, candles are used in unventilated places, trapping fumes in with us. Many research studies have directly linked long-term use with lung cancer, allergies, asthma and skin rash.

Most candles (even soy or beeswax) contain at least a small amount of paraffin wax added during processing. Paraffin wax emits Toluene and Benzene—which is the same fume emitted from car exhaust. If you Google either one, a link to the American Cancer Society will pop up. A friend recently pressed Bath and Body Works, and they admitted their candles are a “soy mix” although labeled as soy.

Another big problem with candles is fragrance. The more fragrance a candle contains, the more soot it will produce in the home. This is not only damaging for us, but our homes too. In the U.S., fragrances are protected as trade secretes and could legally contain any combination of thousands of harmful chemicals. Other countries have outlawed thousands of chemicals that are still used here. Fragrance basically means unknown poison. If you see the word fragrance on anything, run far, far away.

Air fresheners, a 1.62 billion dollar U.S. industry, are full of them. Even ones marked “unscented” or “all-natural.” Google the link between fragrance and Asthma or fragrance and Hormone Imbalance/ Infertility. The body can’t dispose of these chemicals as it does organic material, so they get stored up in our fat cells causing problems over time.

“Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that can be particularly dangerous for young children and unborn babies. Exposure to phthalates can affect testosterone levels and lead to reproductive abnormalities, including abnormal genitalia and reduced sperm production. The State of California notes that five types of phthalates — including one that we found in air freshener products — are ‘known to cause birth defects or reproductive harm.'”

Natural Resources Defense Council

The third major issue I take with these products is misleading marketing. Many candles and sprays are labeled as containing Essential Oils, when really they fall into the unknown chemical fragrance category. Again, Bath and Body Works admitted their candles contain a “natural and synthetic fragrance blend” although labeled as an Essential Oil candle.

Even if it were pure EO’s in the candle, there are still risks with the wax, wick and soot emitted while burning. And since we can’t be sure exactly what we’re burning anyway… why not diffuse pure Essential Oils that we KNOW benefit our bodies?! We can keep our battery-powered candles and use lighted diffusers to get the same homey feeling without the polluting our precious air!

But guys, please don’t skimp on the “pure” part. And I’m not just saying make sure your oils are labeled “pure” because THEY ARE ALL labeled “pure.”

I know people get annoyed when others are so dedicated to one brand, but there’s a reason for that. The same way the cleaning industry is only moderately regulated, so is the essential oil industry. There are many ways that chemicals commonly come into contact with oils, even the ones found at natural food stores. For example, it may happen during the extraction process. More oil can be extracted from plants if a chemical solvent is used. And there’s also nothing stopping companies from diluting the final product, which is why there is a big difference in quality.

So if you’re going to make the switch for your family, make sure it’s with a brand that can be fact-checked. High quality Essential Oils are extracted in small batches and distilled at low temperatures. They are made up of powerful, (truly) organic compounds that provide support for every system in the body. They’re high in antioxidants, so they literally help push toxins out!!! EO’s can replace ANYTHING with a fragrance.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed after reading this, don’t be. We are the gatekeepers of health in our homes and we CAN take control. We don’t have to be stuck using products that harm us in so many ways. There are safe (not safer) products out there, even if we have to do a little digging to find them.

Send me an email at stephanie@theintrovertedmom.com for help getting started on your toxin-free journey! (:

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