Home / Health / Scented candles, cleaning products release cancerous agents

Scented candles, cleaning products release cancerous agents

Common scents found in candles can release cancer-causing toxins.Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Common scents found in candles can release cancer-causing toxins.

Citrus-scented products could be killing us.

Sweet-smelling chemicals in some fragrant candles, air fresheners and cleaning products can react with other airborne elements to create a cancer causing agent, according to tests by the BBC and the University of York.

Professor Alastair Lewis of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science teamed up with the BBC Two series “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor” to measure the levels of “volatile organic chemicals” wafting through six similar York households.

The residents were asked to write down which products they used and how often, and Lewis’s team tested the quality of the air.

The York experiment found that high household levels of limonene – a common perfume agent that gives products a citrus smell – correlated with high levels of formaldehyde.

Limonene is not hazardous on its own, and is even considered safe enough to flavor food.

But hold your breath once it reacts with ozone in the air, creating formaldehyde. This carcinogen can make your eyes burn, irritate the skin, create coughing fits and nausea, or even cause nose and throat cancers.

Limonene, which gives household products their citrus scents, can turn into formaldehyde when it mixes with ozone.

Limonene, which gives household products their citrus scents, can turn into formaldehyde when it mixes with ozone.

The homes in the study where the most scented candles and cleaning products were used also showed the highest levels of limonene.

And the lab studies revealed that for every two molecules of limonene released into the air, one molecule of formaldehyde was formed.

But those effects were partially reversed by chemical-absorbing houseplants such as spider plants, English ivy, golden pothos and dragon trees in the homes for four weeks. A 2010 study also found that plants such as lavender, geraniums, grub ferns, Japanese royal fern and the common guava were also effective at absorbing formaldehyde.

Procter & Gamble brands Downy and Unstopables list limonene among their ingredients.

SC Johnson, the maker of Glade candles and air fresheners, and cleaning products such as Pledge and Windex, also admits on its website that d-Limonene is an “essential fragrance material” used in small amounts in many of its fragrances.

“However, consistent with the IFRA standards, we require that fragrance ingredients only be used at concentrations that have not been shown to result in allergic responses in people who are not sensitive to these materials,” the company said.

Tags:
health studies ,
cancer

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Health – NY Daily News

About

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

3 + 19 =

Read previous post:
Ricky Gervais has made even more enemies

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic Ricky Gervais attends at a Golden Globes after party. Ricky Gervais has made some more enemies - and...

Close