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Ah, the sweet smell of…formaldehyde?!?

You ever get dragged into one of those Yankee Candle stores at the mall?

For the first 10 minutes, it’s pleasant enough, but if I’m there longer than that, I’m gasping for air that doesn’t smell like sugar cookies or frangipani.

And every now and then, I get invited over to someone’s house that’s got so many scented candles burning, I want to jump right out of the window.

Even if the aroma isn’t overwhelming — even if it’s just one flickering votive candle — what you CAN’T smell is the real enemy. And new research from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of York, England reveals what exactly you’re breathing in when the room smells like a citrus grove.

You can be sure it’s not citrus!

In most cases, it’s a chemical creation — and some of those chemicals are far more dangerous than most folks realize.

The new study finds the limonene used to create citrus scents can turn into formaldehyde once it hits the open air and hooks up with ozone — and you REALLY don’t want that stuff in your body until you wind up at the funeral home.

Not only is formaldehyde generally used to preserve dead bodies, but exposure to it while you’re still alive can cause cancer… especially if you’re sniffing it all day long.

And that’s not the only dangerous chemical in scented products! Candles, perfumes, air fresheners, and more contain all sorts of horrors — and most of them are completely unregulated for this type of use.

Some of them contain endocrine-disrupting phthalates… some can trigger asthma and allergic reactions… and synthetic musk scents have been linked to cancer.

One study a few years back found that the scents used in aromatherapy release volatile organic compounds into the air, which can damage the liver and kidneys and cause headaches.

You won’t find limonene, phthalates, or volatile organic compounds listed on the labels of candles and other scented products. Odds are, you won’t find a list of ingredients at all — and if you do, it’ll be incomplete, because there’s no requirement to list dangerous compounds.

The best way to avoid the chemicals and the risks is to avoid scented products unless you know EXACTLY what’s in them.

If you absolutely have to have something burning, use 100 percent beeswax candles scented with essential oils.

Or if you’re like me, fry up some bacon — because that’s the only scent I need.

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