Do you light your scented candles when your home starts to feel a little stale? You may want to hold off on that for a minute, according to The Guardian. When scented products release their smell into the air, it creates a surprising byproduct: formaldehyde. This chemical can be an irritant for the lungs and the skin.


"Everyday exposure to indoor chemicals such as formaldehyde may contribute to increasing incidences of asthma, cancers, and other illnesses" The Guardian reports. 

The chemical formaldehyde  is a colorless ingredient in products like pesticide, germicide, and disinfectant. It's also that same chemical they use in funeral homes. While the chemical occurs naturally (most organisms produce a small amount), exposure to higher levels can cause watery eyes, coughing, nausea and skin irritation, according to The National Cancer Institute. 

A study conducted by the University of York and BBC's Trust Me, I'm a Doctor,  examined chemicals present in the air in the homes of six families. The results showed that the families that used more products that contained limonene (a scented oil used in many household products) had higher levels of formaldehyde. Further studies showed higher levels when the homeowners kept their windows closed and burned more candles, according to BBC

Formaldehyde is obviously not a healthy chemical to inhale frequently, but researchers say you don't have to toss all of your scented candles. Next time you light a candle, open a window to provide extra ventilation. In addition, The Guardian recommends buying a houseplant wich may be able to remove toxins from the air naturally. 

Do you use scented candles? Does this new information change your mind? Share your thoughts in the comments below.