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Are Fancy Candles Bad For Your Health? An Investigation

Sunday 2 June 2019


From Vice:


(Photo from Unsplash.)

Are Fancy Candles Bad for Your Health? An Investigation

By Sam Nichols
31 May 2019
© 2019 VICE Media LLC.

What makes a candle smell nice? Perhaps the unexamined answer to this seems obvious. Perhaps you assume vanilla-scented candles contain vanilla, or that candles that smell of sun-dried linen somehow contain linen, but of course this is wishful thinking. In the same way food chemists have upended the ingredients lists of our favourite foods, modern perfumists have synthesised aromas that smell nothing like what they're made from.


For some, like Corinne Segura, simply being around the smallest amount of synthetic perfume can result in a symphony of ailments.

“[After] my first major reaction to incense, I noticed that I could not handle other highly scented products like scented candles, Febreze, or Glade plug-ins," she told us from her home in Vancouver. "One of the most common places I find scented candles is in stores and hotel lobbies. In lobbies, I just start to feel very dizzy. Nauseous. I just want to get out of lobbies as soon as I can.”

Corinne told us that she used to use a lot of incense, but suddenly around the age of 20 she started feeling sick around artificial smells. Ever since then, Corinne tells us she's lived with something she calls “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS),” which is a relatively unknown condition, resulting in a variety of allergic responses to certain chemicals and smells—each case with its own unique reaction to a unique chemical.


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