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  • Ingrid Nordengen

The Hidden Dangers of Fragrancing our Homes

Scented candles and diffusers have become a staple in many households like my own, creating a cozy and relaxing atmosphere with their fragrances. However, beneath their flickering lights and aromatic scents lies a potential threat to both human health and the environment, particularly to our feathery friends. Here we'll delve into the toxic reality of them and their unintended consequences on the environment.

While scented candles may seem harmless, many of them are made with paraffin wax, a byproduct of petroleum refining. When burned, paraffin releases harmful toxins like benzene and toluene into the air. These chemicals have been linked to respiratory issues, allergies, and even more serious health concerns. In addition to the direct health risks for humans, the impact on birds cannot be ignored. Birds are highly sensitive to airborne pollutants, and the release of toxic fumes from scented candles can significantly affect their respiratory systems, leading to adverse health effects and even fatalities. Birds residing in urban areas, where air pollution is already a concern, are particularly vulnerable. There have been studies that prove that a small bird in the same room as a lit scented candle can die within minutes!

Many diffusers and candles claim to offer aromatherapy benefits however, the reality is that the potential harm of them outweighs the perceived relaxation. Essential oils, including organic oils, can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when heated. These VOCs can have detrimental effects on both human and avian respiratory systems, making the seemingly therapeutic experience a hidden danger. Beyond air quality, the environmental impact of these fragrant items also extends to the disposal of empty packaging. Many containers are not easily recyclable, contributing to the growing issue of plastic pollution. Birds, notorious for mistaking small objects for food, may consume or become entangled in discarded candle and diffuser remnants, further threatening their well-being.

As we cozify our homes with the warm glow of candles and the aromas of diffusers, it's crucial to be aware of the potential dangers they pose. Opting for cleaner and more sustainable alternatives, such as soy or beeswax candles, reusable or recyclable packaging and when possible, fragrance free products, can help reduce the environmental and health risks associated with the more common options. By making mindful choices, we can create a safer and healthier space for both ourselves and our feathered neighbours.


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