Why candles are damaging your health



 Ah, the romance, the calm, the unwind….



Yep, candles have just as much grey area as anything else it turns out, and picking one, scented or unscented, requires a little research before lighting those wicks to unwind.

In today’s blog we’re going to go deep into the problems with candles & find out how to scent your home & create an ambiance naturally!

One of the problems with candles is, phthalates.

Phthalates are hormone disruptors & are present in most fragranced products.

They are a ‘plasticizer compound’ that make fragrances last longer and they make certain plastics uber bendy / soft / stretchy (think of those kids goopy coloured gels and ‘ monster slime’ from a toy shop or a cheap puzzle play mat or a PVC raincoat or contact paper or vinyl flooring).  

The damage from phthalates, is caused by daily, repeated exposure – every day adding to your toxic load.

That damage can mean everything from male sperm count issues, to asthma, to a change in the male babies’ testes, to increased breast cancer incidences .

For those of you who are the ‘nerd out types’ like me, here are a few studies for you to plunge into:

  • Phthalate exposure and its effect on reproductive outcomes and sexual organs, specifically male babies. (study, study )

  • Increased risk in allergic diseases (study)

  • Increased risk of pregnancy loss and/or gestational diabetes (study)

  • Sperm counts – 50% lower sperm counts on average in the past 50 years. Is that not crazy? (study)

  • Infinite endocrine disruption issues at subclinical levels, i.e. not severe enough for ‘treatment’ but enough for symptoms to be a problem to people. (study)

And then there’s the girls… girls reaching puberty at 8?!

It’s not normal & we shouldn’t normalise it nor say ‘back in our day girls were usually around 12’ and shrug.

This can be fixed if we detox our world, our products, and therefore our people.

The good news about phthalates is that they don’t stay in the body for long like some chemicals.

But sadly, phthalates aren’t the only thing that’s wrong with the average scented candle. Here’s what else is in the majority of candles out there:

  1. Many scented candles contain lead in the wick. Mm, just love the smell of lead in the air, don’t you? Best to buy from a local-to-you candle maker that you can ask rather than a pack-of-100 tea lights, type of vibe. Most of the lead coated wicks come from Asia, where there isn’t any law against the use of it.

  2. Paraffin, which is basically a waste product from the petroleum industry. Lots of yucky gases go up into your indoor space with the burning of paraffin. It’s basically like a teeny tiny diesel engine burning inside your home. Isn’t that gross?

  3. Soy is often GM derived (genetically modified soy). While ‘better for us’ than petroleum derived paraffin, it’s sadly supporting GM agriculture to buy soy candles (unless they state that they’re organic or Non GMO project verified). The other problem with soy is the heavy processing and need for super strong fragrance (hello phthalates!) to mask the smell of unpleasant soybean oil.


  1. Don’t buy cheap candles for starters. .

  2. If you do burn cheap candles, do it with windows open, to at least circulate a little fresh air and minimise indoor pollution from the paraffin.

  3. Don’t buy supermarket air freshener candles.

  4. Check the wicks for metal by pinching two fingers around the wick and seeing if there’s any hiding in there. Most probably lead if there is. Move on!

  5. Choose unscented candles, unless you can be sure they’re scented with pure essential oils.

  6. Choose Pure Beeswax candles. These are without a doubt the best option available. Some manufacturers mix beeswax with paraffin, so definitely watch for 100% beeswax.

  7. Make your own candles – look up a DIY olive oil candle or beeswax candle.


  1. Dip a whole bunch of wood BBQ skewers into your favourite essential oil blend, pop them into a jar & place by an open window to breeze through the house?

  2. Get an essential oil diffuser (this is the best way to preserve the healing properties of doTERRA’s Certified Therapeutic Grade essential oils, rather than an oil burner which will damage the compounds.)  Wild orange is a favourite of mine, or a little grapefruit and peppermint in the morning.

  3. Pop a little water in a saucepan and do a 5-minute simmer of your favourite essential oils and rosemary or citrus peels – The house will smell amazing in minutes!

  4. Add a few drops of your favourite oils to your shower while the hot water steams up before you turn on the cold and get in. It’s like stepping into a delicious aromatherapy treatment. Eucalyptus or tea tree oil are wonderful natural disinfectors and amazing if you’re changing seasons or feel like a cold might be on the way and you want some immune support!

Ditching the candles and any other ‘fake smells’ is just about the quickest change you can make to detox your home. 

Once you’ve experienced natural smells, watch what happens when you go to someone else’s home where they’re burning smelly candles. Notice how your sense respond. Their toxicity will be SO obvious, you won’t believe you never realised.