January 28, 2023

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Candles can cause a bad indoor climate.  Two groups are particularly at risk

Candles can cause a bad indoor climate. Two groups are particularly at risk

Few things are more comforting than filling your home with lit candles in the dark. It is light, warm and creates a nice atmosphere.

A couple of candles once in a while never hurt anyone, but excessive use can lead to health problems, especially in certain groups.

It can cause indoor air pollution

Waxes are particulate matter and can be sourced, according to Public Health Institute Give short-term shifts where the air is so polluted with particulate matter that it is on par with moderate smoking indoors or with outdoor air in heavily polluted cities.

When the candles burn out, part of the candle will burn incompletely. You can see this as a black streak of soot smoke above the flame. Soot smoke consists of ultrafine soot particles that are made up of a complex mixture of materials. Particles float around for a long time and pollute the air indoors.

The worst pollution occurs when the candles are extinguished, especially if the candles are extinguished.

When you stay in a room with lots of soot particles, you will breathe in the particles into your lungs. In large enough amounts, it is likely to cause health effects.

If you belong to these groups, you are at particular risk

Asthmatics and young children are particularly at risk. Asthma patients Particles often bother them the most.

The lungs of young children are more sensitive to exposure to dust. They breathe more per minute than adults, and their lungs are not fully developed.

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The Norwegian Institute of Public Health states that some new studies suggest smoke from candles can provide some relief lung function and signs of inflammatory reactions in the respiratory tract, but we still know very little about the health effects of pollution from candles.

There is not enough good research in this area to draw any definite conclusions, and there is currently no evidence that candles cause serious health effects in healthy people.

What is overuse?

It is difficult to set a threshold for excessive candle use, because there is insufficient research on how harmful candle particles compare to particles from other combustion sources.

How harmful candles are depends, among other things, on what kind of light and ventilation you have in your home and how effective they are, as well as your use of candles.

There is a big difference between whether you are a healthy person who lights a few candles occasionally, or whether you are an asthmatic who lights 40 candles at once in a small room, and leaves them burning all evening, every single one. The whole evening is dark.

How to reduce pollution from candles

For many, candles are associated with comfort and coziness, and thus lit candles can bring joy in dark times.

It is important to remember that candles only produce increasing amounts of internal particles for a short time at a time, and that the health risk is only present if you use candles frequently, or many at a time.

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There are several actions you can take to reduce pollution from candles:

  • Avoid overuse of candles. Think about how many candles are lit at the same time, how long the candles are burning and how often you light the candles.
  • Take extra care with young children or people with asthma.
  • If necessary, replace the candles with LED lights. LED lights can create mood in the same way as candles.
  • Put out candles with a lid or clip instead of blowing out the candles. Then the emissions of soot particles are significantly reduced.
  • Make sure you have good ventilation in your home.