Many breast cancer charities around the world seem to be oblivious of the fact that the scented candles or fragranced candles, which they use as part of their fundraising efforts, contain toxic chemicals that can cause cancer and other health problems, according to CancerFACTFINDER. Just why these Breast Cancer charities have chosen a product with so many health-risk doubts hanging over it is difficult to understand.
Fragrance Candles for Breast Cancer?
Some manufacturers of these gifts used by breast cancer charities would say, in their defence, that their scented candles, fragrance candles or other products use no harmful synthetic fragrances, only natural essential oils, and are therefore safe.
However, according to Medical News Today, it is increasingly becoming evident that essential oils can also be harmful to the body as they can disrupt normal hormonal activity, in a similar way to the toxins in synthetic fragrance, potentially causing all manor of body problems such as Male Gynecomastia (which causes boys to develop noticeable breasts).
But that’s before the essential oils are burnt. What effect they may have on the body when burnt is, as yet, unknown.
Are Scented Candles good for your health?
Let’s ask the experts on that one:
“Candles and any scents that are being emitted … are associated with the emission of volatile organic compounds and also small particles that stay in the air,” [Dr Svetlana Stevanovic, a senior lecturer at Deakin University] said.
“When we burn (candles), during the combustion process … we have a lot of little particulates that are being released and many of them are going directly to our lungs.
“It is well established that that is causing a range of different negative health effects.”
A variety of short and long-terms effects are associated with prolonged exposure to pollutants emitted from home scents, Stevanovic said. These include headaches or allergic reactions, with symptoms worse for people who have respiratory issues such as asthma.
“Around one-third of our population is generally sensitive to these volatile organic compounds of scents,” she said.
“Once we emit something into the air it keeps changing, so it won’t even be the same as when we burn it – it will be oxidised, it will change … and then it becomes even more toxic for us.”
Pollution levels inside are normally three times higher than outside, according to Stevanovic.
“Outside you have wind, you have a lot of dilution, you have larger air mass, but inside the volume of air is small and we are not exchanging the air, we are basically just putting new pollutants into the air,” she explained.
Candle and scent manufacturers are not obligated to disclose all of the compounds used in products as often they are “trade secrets”, Stevanovic said.
She added there are also loose regulations around “greenwashing”, when brands seek to portray products as environmentally friendly by using buzz words such as “organic” and “natural”. Stevanovic said consumers should use candles in moderation and in a ventilated space. Home scents that are marketed with these terms, or even which do have natural ingredients such as essential oils, aren’t necessarily safer, she said.
“I do think we should have very strong regulations about what is green, what’s not green,” Stevanovic said.
“(Natural) doesn’t mean that if we inhale it all the time it’s good for us, so we should do everything in moderation.”
Candles made of soy or beeswax are better than paraffin ones, however consumers should still be mindful about how often they are being burned.
So we ask again, why do these Breast Cancer charities choose to sell scented candles or fragranced candles in order to raise money, even though the scented candles or fragrance candles may cause cancer? It’s difficult to understand.