My throat was so dry, I was dizzy, I had a cough… it was the first time in couple of years that the thought of grabbing an OTC pain reliever passed through my mind.
“What did I eat/drink that was so bad?”
“I am not supposed to get sick!”
“Have I really been that stressed and exhausted?”
Unfortunately, although the throat got better enough for me to swallow, my healthy glow did not return to me regardless of the amount of juice I guzzled. In fact, each day I felt much better being out and about, only to be disappointed to find that I woke up somewhere along the lines of where I had started. Talk about a blow to my nutritional confidence. I had to admit that my immunity was not invincible.
First thought… the A/C. Being that it is steamy hot in Dallas, Texas, sleeping without the air conditioning (albeit unnatural) is like sleeping on a heating pad. Not so comfy. Not so peaceful. But… although the A/C probably was not helping the matter, it did not really make sense that I would have just become suddenly sick now. At the end of summer.
Second thoughts… dust, and/or mold… Dust was definitely an issue but not the culprit.
Can you guess what the culprit was?
When I first moved to Dallas, alone, and living in a new place, I developed a relationship with candles. There is something so vibrant, peaceful, and friendly about a dancing flame that it became a welcome companion in the evening. On a budget, and not fully able to decorate a new place, candles became my inexpensive way to add color to a vacant room, in addition to that “home baked” scent in the kitchen that I did not bake in. Suffice to say, I did not think in great depth about my candles and their health correlation.
New place. Spending wisely. The apartment complex adds insolation to keep the hot Dallas heat from increasing room temperatures and slowly my throat becomes noticeably drier at night (which is not an unusual occurence with A/C). But then wham! Sick. Pain. Can’t get past it.
As it turns out a specific “fancy,” sweet-smelling gifted candle (something I would not have purchased on my budget) had been lit unbeknownst to us, and burned in the apartment a few days prior. Not pinpointing the pricey candle as a source of pollution, we continued to burn it, even after I became sick. When the vent was removed from the air conditioning unit, the complex was astonished to find it completely black. I could only imagine what my poor little lungs were thinking breathing in that stuff.
So I then got to thinking: How hazardous are candles to our health? What exactly am I burning? And regardless of ingredients, should we really be lighting these things when there is not sufficient circulation?
I had questions. I got answers.
Most common Ingredients: Paraffin, followed by different variations of “beeswax, soy wax, palm wax, gels, and other synthetic waxes” (Candles.org). But The National Candle Association DOES NOT REQUIRE candle ingredients be labeled.
When a candle burns, what are we breathing in? “The flame’s heat vaporizes the liquid wax to produce water vapor and carbon dioxide.” According to the National Candle Association, this “soot” is not equivalent to the toxins formed by burning gasoline, fuel, and coal (Um, Thank goodness for that! ha!) but rather the same as burning cooking oil, and heating up something in the toaster. Hm… so burning toast is the same as burning Paraffin? Interesting… because I highly, highly doubt we use these kitchen appliances as often and as long as we breath in candle smoke.
Excerpt from UK online Magazine.
“When paraffin wax is burnt, it has been shown to produce chemicals such as
benzene and toluene.Dr Andy Beeby, chemistry expert from Durham University, says that these twochemicals should be avoided wherever possible. He says: ‘Benzene and tolueneare solvents that are used industrially to make glue and gloss paint.
‘When people sniff glue, it is solvents like this that are making them high. Benzene
particularly is a known carcinogen — i.e. it has been proven to cause cancer.
It’s not a substance that I would ever expose myself to in the lab.” –DailyMail.co.uk
It is interesting what you learn when you are forced to analyze your everyday habits, eh?