Candles are made from a wide range of wax and wicks. Paraffin wax, Soy wax, and beewax are the most common wax types used. These waxes, especially paraffin wax, are unhealthy when burned for long. Paraffin wax, when burned, produces harmful vapors like carcinogens, it also produces soot which can cause damage to ones health. It is important to note that these substances are produced in very little amounts in candles that can cause little or no harm.
Candle wick used to be composed of substances which could likely cause death. Before 2003, the production of candles made from lead wicks hadn’t been banned. They were responsible for a wide range of health issues, especially those relating to the respiratory system. These health issues have an implication of death on the long run.
Another make up of candle that may lead to death if consumed in large quantity (although, such a quantity may not be consumed from burning candles domestically), is the synthetic fragrance used in making the candles. These synthetic chemicals give off volatile organic compounds when you burn your candles. These volatile organic chemicals are harmful and can cause a wide range of health issues. Headache, dizziness, and even death threatening illnesses like Respiratory Tract Infection and cancer can result from this.
HOW CAN CANDLE CAUSE DEATH?
It has already been established that many candles produced and sold in the market produce toxic substances. When these candles are burned for domestic use, the amount of toxic substances they produce are not likely to cause any harm to health talk more of death. However, as a result of carelessness, poor ventilation, allergies etc, burning of candle is capable of causing death.
The following are ways candles can cause death:
When candles are burned carelessly they may result in fire outbreaks. These fire outbreaks, painfully, have led to loss of lives and properties. It has also resulted in lethal injuries. Fire outbreaks from candles are caused when the candle flame ignites a flammable material placed close to it. Candles should be burned away from household items such as curtains, beddings, chairs, clothing, decorations, etc. This is because these materials can start a fire which may escalate and cause great harm and damage.
2. POOR VENTILATION
Whilst the toxic gas produced from domestic candle burning cannot cause any noticeable damage, it is still important to burn candles in a well-ventilated room. When you stay in a room where a candle is burned, the toxic gases that are naturally meant to be expelled into the atmosphere would be inhaled as there would be no space for them to escape into the atmosphere. This inhaled gas has many negative effects especially on the respiratory system. When one stays in this condition for a very long period of time, they may die.
3. EXCESSIVE BURNING
Candles should not be burned every day. The small amounts of toxic gases one inhales everytime they are burned can accumulate and result in amounts that may be harmful to the health – leading to shorter life span. Candle burning should be minimized. Candles with open flames may be substituted with battery-powered flameless candles or other lightning sources like torchlight or lamps.
4. BURNING IN THE PRESENCE OF AN FLAMMABLE GASES
Flammmables gases like medical oxygen gas, home cooking gas etc. must be kept away from lit candles. These gases can cause materials to burn faster than it normally would and moreso, hotter. When candles are burned in the present of these gases, it may lead to an explosion which may result in loss of life and properties.
HOW TO BURN CANDLES SAFELY
To reduce the intake of harmful gases from candle it is necessary to learn how to burn candles properly, so as to avoid accumulation that may lead to an imminent danger to health and life. Also, due to the fire outbreak that may occur if candles are not burned properly, it is also important to learn of burning candles properly. Outlined below are guidelines to follow in burning candles properly.
1. Always trim the wick
To avoid your candles burning with production of excess soot that may be injurious to health, you should always trim your candles. Trim your candles to 1/4 inches before burning them.
2. Do not burn candles for long.
Candles should be burned at intervals to allow for diffusion of toxic gases produced. This diffusion would reduce the concentration of the toxic gas in the room. Candles should be burned for at most 4 hours, and then a 1-2 hours break should be taken before burning is continued.
3. Keep candles within sight when burning
Never light a candle and leave it unattended. Someone must be in the room where a candle is burned and also they must keep sight of it. This way a fire outbreak will not occur if a material is ignited by the candle and even if it occurs the fire would be extinguished immediately before it escalates.
4. The room where you burn your candle must be well-ventilated
To avoid suffocation due to poor ventilation and excessive intake of gas, your room should be well-ventilated. All windows and vents should be opened and the candles burned in the room should not be many
5. Extinguish lit candles after use
Put off your candlelights when leaving a room or going to bed. Fire outbreak may occur if the candle is unattended. Also, sleeping overnight in a room with a lit candles can lead to excess inhalation of harmful gases which may lead to suffocation, and death.
6. Place your lit candles away from flammable materials.
Candles must not be burned close to materials capable of burning like clothes, beddings, mattress, curtains etc. They should be kept a considerably long distance away from flammables so a fire outbreak would not occur and life wouldn’t be put in imminent danger. Lit candles must not be placed on wood or plastic, they should be put on actual candle holders.