Jovana Rikalo

Science Says Your Favorite Candle Could Actually Be Giving You Cancer

Bad news, candle lovers. There's a chance your citrusy flames are releasing toxic chemicals into your home.

According to Medical Daily, a team of researchers from BBC's “Trust Me, I'm a Doctor” teamed up with Alastair Lewis, a chemistry professor and deputy director at the UK's National Centre for Atmospheric Science, to uncover possible risks of using lemon-scented products.

Over a five-day stretch, the team sampled air from six York, England homes in search of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The VOC that caused the biggest stir over the course of the study was limonene, aka the chemical scent that keeps candles, sprays and household cleaners smelling lemony fresh.

With every two molecules of limonene released into the air, researchers reportedly discovered one molecule of formaldehyde formed.

That kind of chemistry sounds great for fragrantly preserving dead bodies, but downright awful for sustaining live ones; formaldehyde causes coughing fits, nausea, eye and skin irritation and, in extreme cases, nose and throat cancers.


The researchers recommend candle lovers switch to limonene-free scents to avoid unnecessary infections, or invest in household plants that will clear airborne toxins.

Grub ferns, lavender, spider ferns, guava and Japanese royal ferns will all do the trick, Medical Daily reports.

Too attached to your faux-artisanal, Meyer-lemon, triple-wicked stocking stuffer to let it go?

Burn at your own risk.


Citations: Chemicals Released From Citrus-Scented Candles And Cleaning Products May Increase Cancer Risk (Medical Daily)