The chemicals in candles

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Burning everyday paraffin-wax candles can emit a storm of toxic chemicals, including toluene and benzene, according to a study presented today to the American Chemical Society. To be sure, it’s nowhere near as harmful to light an occasional candle as it would be, say, to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. But the researchers say that frequent candle burning in tight unventilated areas has been implicated in lung cancer, asthma and skin rash. So make sure there’s somewhere for the smoke to escape from your romantic candlelit dinner. Or, if you can afford to part with an extra buck or two, you may want to splurge on bee’s wax or soybean candles instead. They both burn a lot cleaner.