Candles and incense create a warm, inviting atmosphere and scents associated with pleasant memories and feelings, but some candles and incense can be a real problem in homes or businesses, especially those with carpeting. Harmful effects include diminished indoor air quality and an unsightly graphite film on carpeting that can be notoriously difficult to remove. Read on to learn more about these problems and discover healthier, cleaner ways to create the ambiance you want.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency,
The estimated total sales of candles in 1999 varied between $968 million and $2.3 billion, while imports were $486 million. The U.S. imports and exports of incense in 1999 were $12.4 and 4.6 million, respectively. The scientific literature review gathered information regarding the emission of various contaminants generated when burning candles and incense, as well as the potential health effects associated with exposure to these contaminants. Burning candles and incense can be sources of particulate matter. Burning candles with lead-core wicks may result in indoor air concentration of lead above EPA-recommended thresholds. Exposure to incense smoke has been linked with several illnesses, and certain brands of incense also contain chemicals suspected of causing skin irritation.
Heavily scented oil candles and ordinary incense create graphite pollution, a type of indoor air contamination that can be compared to cigarette smoke. These products may mask odor, but they contain cancer-causing chemicals associated with migraines and sinus problems. They can trigger symptoms in people with COPD and other breathing-related conditions. Carpeting and upholstery are highly absorbent. The soot left behind by certain candles and incense can infiltrate the fibers of your carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture. It can cause a carpet problem called filtration soiling, that is, a graphite film that creates dark, dirty areas along the edges of carpet and around HVAC vents. Once this problem develops, it can be difficult to resolve without damaging the carpet, even with professional carpet cleaning.
Your family, guests, employees, or patrons can enjoy soft, flickering candlelight and clean aromas without harmful health effects and negative consequences to your carpet and upholstery. Here's how:
With proper care and a few simple precautions, your space can remain fresh, clean, and inviting with or without candles and incense.