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Environ Sci Process Impacts. 2013 Jul;15(7):1369-82. doi: 10.1039/c3em00011g.

A standard method for measuring benzene and formaldehyde emissions from candles in emission test chambers for human health risk assessment purposes.

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  • 1ToxMinds BVBA, Product Safety & Regulatory Affairs, 1200 Brussels, Belgium. thomas.petry@toxminds.com


Burning candles release a number of volatile or semi-volatile organic compounds (VOC; SVOC) and particulate matters into indoor air. Publicly available candle emission studies vary in protocols and factors known to have a great influence on combustion processes, making it difficult to determine potential implications of candle emissions for human health. The main objective of this investigation was to establish and standardize as far as possible a candle VOC emission testing protocol in small- to mid-scale test chambers on the basis of existing standards as well as to verify its suitability for human health risk assessment purposes. Two pilot studies were conducted to define the boundaries of permissible variations in chamber parameters without significantly impacting the quality of the candle burn. A four-centre ring trial assessed the standardised protocol. The ring trial revealed that when the laboratories were able to control the chamber parameters within the defined boundaries, reproducible formaldehyde and benzene emissions, considered as VOC markers, are determined. It was therefore concluded that the protocol developed in this investigation is suitable for generating candle VOC emission data for human health risk assessment purposes.

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