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Candles have been a decorative and functional element for centuries, providing light, aroma, and a cozy atmosphere. However, using candles also comes with certain health risks, especially due to some of the chemical compounds they release when burned.

In this blog, we will explore these risks, focusing on the compounds benzene and toluene, and offer tips on the safe use of candles.

Chemical Compounds in Candles


Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon that can be released when burning certain candles. It is known to be a human carcinogen, and prolonged exposure can cause leukemia and other types of blood cancer. Although benzene is found at relatively low levels in candles, continuous exposure in a closed environment can increase the risk of adverse health effects.


Toluene is another aromatic hydrocarbon present in some candles. Although it is less toxic than benzene, prolonged exposure to toluene can cause health problems such as headaches, dizziness, and neurological damage. Inhalation of large amounts can affect the central nervous system, leading to effects such as memory loss and coordination problems.

Health Risks of Candles

Candles, especially those made with paraffin, release a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when burned. In addition to benzene and toluene, other hazardous compounds may include formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein. These VOCs can contribute to respiratory problems, allergies, and asthma, especially in sensitive individuals.

Tips for Safe Candle Use:

1. Choose Natural Candles:

Opt for candles made from beeswax or soy wax instead of paraffin to reduce the emission of toxic compounds. These candles typically burn cleaner and last longer.

2. Ensure Proper Ventilation:

Always use candles in well-ventilated areas to prevent the accumulation of smoke and harmful compounds. Keep windows open or use a fan to improve air circulation.

3. Avoid Prolonged Use:

Limit the time candles are lit to minimize exposure to VOCs. Extinguish candles after 2-3 hours of continuous use.

4. Safe Placement:

Place candles away from flammable materials and on heat-resistant surfaces. Keep candles out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidents.

5. Use Unscented Candles:

Artificial fragrances can release additional chemicals into the air. Unscented candles or those with natural essential oils are a safer option.

Proper Placement of Candles

Candles should be placed in open spaces or areas with good ventilation. Avoid placing them in small, enclosed rooms without airflow. Bathrooms and kitchens can be suitable places due to increased ventilation. Additionally, consider using candles outdoors in patios or gardens, where smoke can disperse more easily.


Candles can add a charming and cozy atmosphere to any space, but it's important to be aware of the potential health risks. By choosing natural candles, ensuring proper ventilation, and limiting prolonged use, you can enjoy the benefits of candles while minimizing risks. Remember to always take precautions to protect your health and that of your family.

For more information on safe aromatic products and tips on candle use, visit GR Scents at or contact us at


We hope this blog has provided valuable information for safe and mindful use of candles in your home. If you have any questions or need product recommendations, please don't hesitate to contact us.



- National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

- American Lung Association

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