Scented Candles and incenses as indoor air fresheners : health risk assessment from real emission measurements


  • Karr Guillaume
  • Albinet Alexandre
  • Quivet E.
  • Buiron D.
  • Maupetit François
  • Nicolas M.



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As part of the EBENE research project, a health risk assessment was performed for two types of widely used combustible air fresheners: scented candles and incenses. The assessment was based on physiochemical characterization of the particulate and gaseous emissions of 9 scented candles and 10 incenses, tested under real conditions in an experimental house MARIA (CSTB), combined with a national phone survey about household uses. Results obtained showed that chronic exposures could exceed usual health reference values for a reasonable-worst-case type scenario. Substances of concern included PM (particulate matter), benzene, acrolein and, to a lesser extent, formaldehyde, for incenses, and formaldehyde, acrolein and, to a lesser extent, PM, for scented candles. For all of these substances, exceedances were also identified for short term exposures (1 hour). These results suggest that good practice – use reasonably, ventilate the room after use, avoid direct inhalation of any smoke, etc. – and reducing the emissions of high-emissivity products could be necessary to insure a safe use.

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