Aromatic candles, with their cozy glow and enticing fragrances, have become a preferred choice for many households and romantic settings.

However, in recent years, increasing concerns over health and environmental issues have drawn scientific and public attention to the potential health hazards and impact on indoor air quality associated with aromatic candles.

Ingredients and Potential Hazards

Aromatic candles typically consist of wax, fragrance oils, and dyes. Different types of wax, such as paraffin, beeswax, and plant-based waxes, release varying chemical compounds when burned.

Paraffin wax candles, the most common type, are derived from petroleum by-products, known for their affordability and ease of processing. Studies indicate that burning paraffin wax releases harmful substances such as benzene, toluene, and ethylbenzene, which are classified as potential carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Fragrance oils, essential to the candle's aroma, also decompose during combustion, emitting volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and benzo[a]pyrene. These VOCs can cause headaches, nausea, respiratory issues, and potentially more severe long-term health effects.

Impact on Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is crucial for human health, especially as people spend a significant amount of time indoors.

Burning aromatic candles releases VOCs and particulate matter (PM), directly affecting indoor air quality. Research shows that burning candles for just one hour can significantly increase concentrations of certain pollutants indoors, sometimes exceeding the indoor air quality standards recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Furthermore, candle combustion produces ultrafine particles (UFPs) with diameters smaller than 100 nanometers, capable of penetrating deep into the respiratory system and even entering the bloodstream, posing potential threats to human health. Prolonged exposure to these particles may lead to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, among other health issues.

Scientific Research and Health Risk

Recent scientific studies have extensively examined the health risks associated with aromatic candles.

For instance, research by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that concentrations of certain chemicals released during candle burning are sufficient to adversely affect sensitive populations such as asthma sufferers and individuals with allergies. Another study suggests that long-term use of aromatic candles may increase the risk of respiratory and allergic diseases among household members.

However, not all aromatic candles have the same impact on health and the environment. Studies indicate that candles made from natural materials such as beeswax and soy wax tend to emit fewer harmful substances when burned. Additionally, selecting high-quality, pure essential oils and lead-free wicks can also reduce the release of harmful pollutants to some extent.


The ambiance and warmth provided by aromatic candles undoubtedly enhance many aspects of our lives. Yet, with advancing scientific research, we are increasingly aware of the potential release of harmful substances during their combustion, posing risks to health and indoor air quality.

As consumers, while enjoying the pleasant atmosphere created by aromatic candles, it is crucial to prioritize the selection of safe, environmentally friendly products and adopt appropriate usage practices to minimize their negative impact on health and the environment.