Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of chemicals known to be persistent organic pollutants – they can occur naturally (eg released during bush fires and volcanoes) or as a result human activity, such as driving, steel making and constructing / using asphalt roads.
A while back, some Dutch researchers at Maastricht University made a surprising discovery: particles in the air of many churches contained greatly elevated levels of free radicals, even ten times greater than airborne particulates collected along busy roadways travelled by 45,000 vehicles daily. How on earth could that happen?
Long story short – it was from burning paraffin candles in poorly ventilated churches. As paraffin candles burn, they release PAHs, some of which are carcinogenic, mutagenic or teratogenic. It’s not healthy to breath air polluted with PAHs and free radicals, so if you’re going to burn paraffin candles, ventilation is the magic word.
PAHs can also be found in skincare and haircare products. You won’t see them on the ingredients lists of products, because they’re there as contaminants of other ingredients.
To avoid them, read the ingredients list on the label and avoid Mineral Oil (also known as Baby Oil), Petroleum Jelly, Petrolatum and Paraffin, including any ingredient that has ‘paraffin’ as part of their name, such as Isoparaffin, Paraffinum and the like.
Easy! Even if you forget all the complicated stuff, it’s a no-brainer to remember Mineral Oil, Baby Oil, Petroleum Jelly, Petrolatum and Paraffin.
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