Scented Candles May Cause Indoor Air Pollution

scented candles air pollution

Studies show that scented candles can cause air pollution. We recommend one or more of these alternatives.

Indoor air quality experts at the Oregon Environmental Council say that the chemicals used in scented candles can cause indoor air pollution, potentially causing a wide range of respiratory health effects, including asthma. Companies are not required to disclose the specific chemicals used in scented candles on the labels, and many labels simply list “fragrance” as an ingredient, without revealing any specifics. Some contain “pthalates”, which are used in the production of plastic, and have also been found in bottled water. According to an EPA report on pthalates, these chemicals may cause birth defects and reproductive problems.

Many people will use scented candles or fragrance sprays to mask odors that linger indoors. But there are other alternatives  to these chemical-laden, pollution causing solutions. Spring is in the air, and opening the windows of your home for even just a few minutes a day can improve air circulation, while letting in the natural scent of fresh flowers. Running the fan in your bathroom and turning on the fan inside the hood vent above your stove, during and after cooking will also help. It is important to clean and change your microwave and hood range filters on a regular basis, as these prevent the spread of odor-causing smoke and food particles. We also recommend changing your HVAC furnace filters regularly, and investing in a HEPA air purifier if you suffer from allergies or asthma. Most air purifiers remove odor-carrying particles naturally, without adding chemical-laden fragrance to your home.

If you’re not sensitive to fragrances, and you absolutely can’t do away with your craving for cinnamon or french vanilla, or if it’s too cold to open the window, supplement your air filter with a Fresh Scents Air Filter Freshener in “Fresh Flowers” and other scents. This fragrance gel pad attaches easily to any air filter, providing subtly scented air throughout your home, without the smoke given off by candlewicks.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Threatens Indoor Ice Skating Rinks

New ice resurfacers are powered electrically and do not pose a threat.

The EPA provides strict indoor air quality guidelines for recreational arenas, including ice skating rinks, but unfortunately, not everyone follows them. One writer recently noted that carbon monoxide poisoning is a potential threat for people who visit ice skating rinks that use fuel-fired ice resurfacers and edgers. New machines are electrically powered and do not pose a threat, but there are some indoor ice rinks that use machines fueled with diesel, propane or gasoline.

In addition to carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter also pose health risks. Parents should be aware of the signs of poisoning from air pollution if their children frequent these arenas, namely shortness of breath, mild headaches and nausea. These symptoms often mimic flu symptoms, and may be mistaken as such.

Good health starts with indoor air quality. If your children don’t frequent these arenas, it is still important to make sure the air in your own home is clean and safe to breathe. Check out our series, “Filters for Kids,” to learn more about ways to ensure your kids stay healthy with quality furnace filters and air purifiers. And since your children likely spend most of their time at school, it’s important to know what their school is doing to create a healthy environment as well.

Fortunately, we are in the winter season. If you live in a cold climate, you may want to take advantage of an outdoor ice skating arena in your area, while there is still time.