I don't about you, but one of my favorite things ever are candles. There is something beyond cozy about the process of lighting a tiny flame and then, after a few minutes, enjoying the aromatic magic throughout my home. This is particularly true starting at the beginning of autumn and throughout the holiday season. It's one of the most key components of "coziness" that I love.

So, I was heartbroken several years ago when I ran across an article touting warnings and sound alarms over the fact that we were most like poisoning ourselves and our families by what seemed like such a harmless treat. (I mean, what a great way to enjoy calorie-free pumpkin bread, am I right?) So, is your vanilla cookie candle wreaking physical havoc on you?

Let's take a look at a few of those concerns, shall we?

Is the candle wax made of poisonous chemicals that are released when burned? 

There was a study done by South Carolina State University in 2009 claiming that "paraffin wax releases harmful chemicals such as toluene. However, this study has been called into question by the NCA particularly because it was never published in a journal and peer reviewed." There were other problems with that study, as well. As a matter of fact, "there’s no scientific basis for these claims that paraffin, or soy, or any other sort of wax could be harmful when burned," says Rob Harrington, Ph.D., a toxicologist with the National Candle Association.

OK, so even is the wax is alright, what about those lovely fragrances? 

I mean, how can a candle emit smells sometimes indistinguishable from the actual thing they claim to represent? There must be some dark, toxic wizardry at work here, right? While yes, those enticing candle scents are brought to fruition using chemicals, but upon study, these fragrances usually conform to "safety standards established by the International Fragrance Association, which ensures that chemicals used are non-toxic and safe for human use." The only issue of concern, according to the study, is that fragrant candles can aggravate those who suffer from asthma or other breathing troubles. For more specifics, click the article link below.

Yeah, but you can't convince me that those lead-containing wicks aren't harming us. A worthy concern, for sure. However, lead in candle wicks has been banned since 2013. That doesn't mean every candle-maker adheres to these standards. Thus it's always a good idea to make sure you purchase candles from a reputable company--just like with any household product.

Ready to learn more? House Beautiful offers a more comprehensive look into this here.

Now, if you'll excuse me I'm going to go bake a cake. I think lighting this caramel apple candle will be just the inspiration I need.