According to Dr. Andrew Sledd of Cape Girardeau, MO, there is a dark side to scented candles that most people fail to consider when picking out the perfect scent to infuse their home

Dr. Sledd is a pediatrician at Saint Francis Medical Center who also specializes in Environmental Toxicology.

In an interview with KFVS-12, Dr. Sledd called candles “the number one cause for indoor air pollution.” While those who developed general distaste for the smell of candles are inclined to agree, Dr. Sledd was not referring to their overpowering scent.

As stated by Dr. Sledd, it takes only an hour of burning a scented candle to produce the same effects as smoking a cigarette.

“[A candle] is more dangerous because it doesn’t get filtered…which remove millions of micro particles,” he said.

Dr. Sledd’s claim is backed by a 2001 study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), citing both candles and incense as sources of particulate matter, releasing the “dirtiest soot” into the air you breathe. In closed living corroders, the soot penetrates the deepest parts of the lung, increasing risk of respiratory illness. Scented candles have a high risk of containing particles of zinc, tin, and lead, the EPA’s report shows.

Dr. Sledd believes wax warmers to be a safe alternative to scented candles. In addition, the EPA’s study shows that candles made out of beeswax and soy are also safe.

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