Candles may be romantic but they could also be damaging to health, according to US scientists.

They analysed the fumes released by burning a range of candles in lab tests.

Results showed paraffin wax candles emitted harmful fumes linked to lung cancer and asthma.

However they said it would take multiple daily use for several years in unventilated rooms to risk health, adding that occasional candle use was not something people should worry about.

The scientists suggested switching to candles made from beeswax or soy, which did not release significant levels of the chemicals.

Critics said smoking, alcohol, obesity, unhealthy diets, inactivity and heavy sun exposure accounted for more cancers than candles.

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