Like most in the candle industry I have read the Daily Mails article on Scented Candles.

The self admission of a conflicting hypothesis is deafening. The article explains that it refers to the number of particles and NOT how toxic they are – but incredibly still draws on the number of particles as its comparison!

This would be like saying ‘the weight of food determines how unhealthy your meal is, we appreciate the toxin levels of a hamburger are high when compared to a watermelon but lets base it on weight anyway. So we will concentrate on the heavier the meal the more unhealthy it is.’ You would be screaming at the Television if this was a documentary.

They (The Daily Mail) wrote:

For each candle, we’ve compared the number of particles given off by the candle, to the number that might be produced by a diesel car within a certain timeframe, but this refers only to the number of particles, not the type, as diesel particles are more toxic.

Statements such as (Daily Mail) “..have been found to..” is a weak journo sensationalist comment. Similar desk top exaggeration include “..experts warn..” , “experts predict..”

Astonishingly they actually write that a Beeswax Candle gives off 675 million particles equivalent to – now this is the best bit – the same number of particles over time that a diesel car would give off in 45 minutes. The SAME NUMBER. (NOT QUALITY!) He (Douglas Booker) then even goes on to say that

‘Those particles may not be as toxic as the ones you’d get from diesel, but the sheer number is so high, you can’t say it’s improved the quality of the air.’’

So this is a scientist giving his results? Using language such as “..may not be as toxic..” to support the headline argument by the Mail as “Is your scented candle as bad for air quality as a diesel car”. The scientists reply is above, “may not be”, as in “no”. But the article just aims to confuse and make self admitting spurious claims in its article language.

Come on DM I am relying on your results to determine if my family and I are going to kill ourselves this evening and your summary result is “It may not be”. I mean do we have the same approach to perfume when we spray it directly at our face and then discover to our horror it didn’t improve the quality of the air? Especially when I ingest it when the nozzle is pointing in the wrong direction. ‘Your breath smells nice babe’, ‘thanks hun I’ve just drank some Joop’.

So who is this famous scientist Douglas Booker with whom the Daily Mail have rested this Holy Grail of Discovery? Well he has a Doctorate in Geography and owns the business mentioned in the Mail. A business which last year earned himself a total net worth for his company, which was established 4 years ago, of just £15,000.

So when he talks about these particles what are they? A particle or a Nano particle is a particle that is 1000th of a mm. So yes you can fit 100,000 on a human hair.

Are they in my home right now? If you use face cream, deodorant, cleaning products (and hundreds of other examples) you are in contact with Nano particles.

Are they dangerous? Well there is very little research that has been done to show that Nano particulates pose a serious risk to health. But yes there are risks with certain types. The fact that this information isn’t so easy to find would also suggest the reason for lack of conclusion. Even by Mr Booker.

So, why has their article focused on the number and not the quality? Why hasn’t Mr Booker given us one test, yes just one on the contents of the Nano particles found? That would tell us if any of them are harmful, after all it’s your business isn’t it? This is what you charge for? I mean heaven forbid we miss out this crucial bit of evidence to show the actual detail of the potential harm.

My non scientific thoughts would be soy candles and Beeswax candles are vegetable based. Paraffin Candles are a by-product of petroleum. Which one would you rather burn? (Sorry Yankee).

What else releases toxins and Nano particles? So thinking of having a BBQ this summer? A study by the French environmental campaigning group Robin des Bois found that a typical two-hour barbecue can release the same level of dioxins as up to 220,000 cigarettes.

Damn there goes my grill and party this summer. But wait lets not be flippant this is serious right? The article talks about Alzheimer’s as well so what’s that all about?

Europe’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment has stated that, with the daily use of aluminium- containing deodorants; your exposure is above the tolerable weekly intake of 1 mg of aluminium per kilogram of body weight. This exposure level is important because aluminium is a known neurotoxin that is also linked to prostate cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Are we getting too deep into the rabbit hole yet?

Interestingly in 2016 the Mail Online published an article that burning limonene (Hey I recognise that one as being on my CLP label!) in certain strengths when burning can cause formaldehyde to be produced but they also said having house plants to absorb harmful emissions and opening a window significantly reduces this risk. I think you will also find general advice on all of our candles says use in a ventilated room. I wonder if the tests commissioned by the Mail were done in a ventilated room. Hmm doesn’t say does it.

SO if you’re going to do a test lets have a conclusion that doesn’t focus on a Scientists opinion of Marketing. Lets have a test result that doesn’t finish with ‘we focused on the quantity not the quality’. Lets have a test that actually tells us what you found that was actually harmful. Let’s have some research that doesn’t conclude with ‘It may not be’. Lets publish instead an article that doesn’t compare a Hamburger with a Watermelon.