Human health risk evaluation of selected VOC, SVOC and particulate emissions from scented candles

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2014 Jun;69(1):55-70. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2014.02.010. Epub 2014 Feb 26.


Airborne compounds in the indoor environment arise from a wide variety of sources such as environmental tobacco smoke, heating and cooking, construction materials as well as outdoor sources. To understand the contribution of scented candles to the indoor load of airborne substances and particulate matter, candle emission testing was undertaken in environmentally controlled small and large emission chambers. Candle emission rates, calculated on the basis of measured chamber concentrations of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds (VOC, SVOC) and particulate matter (PM), were used to predict their respective indoor air concentrations in a standard EU-based dwelling using 2 models: the widely accepted ConsExpo 1-box inhalation model and the recently developed RIFM 2-box indoor air dispersion model. The output from both models has been used to estimate more realistic consumer exposure concentrations of specific chemicals and PM in candle emissions. Potential consumer health risks associated with the candle emissions were characterized by comparing the exposure concentrations with existing indoor or ambient air quality guidelines or, where not existent, to established toxicity thresholds. On the basis of this investigation it was concluded that under normal conditions of use scented candles do not pose known health risks to the consumer.

Keywords: Candle emissions; Chamber emission studies; Consumer exposure modeling; Human health assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / chemistry*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Humans
  • Paraffin / analysis*
  • Particulate Matter
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / chemistry*
  • Waxes / analysis*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Waxes
  • Paraffin