MO doctor warns that candles are as harmful as cigarettes

Missouri doctor warns that candles are as harmful as cigarettes
Published: Sep. 16, 2015 at 8:27 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2015 at 9:44 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - This fact might surprise you: Some scented candles could be as harmful, if not worse than smoking a cigarette.

That's according to Doctor Andrew Sledd who is a pediatrician who specializes in Environmental Toxicology.

He said it takes only an hour of burning a candle to produce the same effects as smoking a single cigarette.

On top of that, research by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows candles release the dirtiest soot, sometimes containing particles of zinc, tin and lead.

"It's more dangerous because it doesn't get filtered on it, which removes hundreds of millions of micro particles, a candle doesn't. Just like that in your room," said Dr. Sledd.

Dr. Sledd said the soot particles penetrate the deepest parts of the lung and could cause respiratory illness.

Some people we talked to say they've thrown out their candles all together.

Jon Walter, a massage therapist in Cape Girardeau, said the warning was reason enough to switch to fake candles and oils.

"We all loved having the candles because they were so relaxing and everyone loved them so much," he said. "But knowing that it is bad for you and for us, to be working here all day with candles burning for someone that doesn't smoke we don't want to be dealing with that kind of pressure."

Doctor Sledd said wax warmers are perfectly safe and the EPA says candles made of beeswax and soy are also safe.

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