This time of year, when the weather is harsh and darkness falls early, few things are as comforting as the gentle flicker of a candle’s flame. But when it comes to scented candles, health experts say some may contain unhealthy chemicals and irritants. (Check out which common chemicals are depleting your vitamin D levels.)
When used sparingly—say, lighting a candle once or twice a week in a well-ventilated room—the worries are negligible, says Heather Patisaul, PhD, a toxicologist and associate professor of biology at North Carolina State University.
But if you’re firing up multiple scented candles on a daily basis—and especially if you’re doing that in a small space, like a bathroom with the door closed—there’s reason to reconsider your habit, she says.
Here are three ways your scented candles may be messing with your health, and how to dodge the dangers if you’re intent on burning them.
(Find seasonal recipes, inspiring imagery, and gardening tips every day inside the Rodale’s Organic Life 2017 Calendar!)