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Portrait of Joakim Pagels

Joakim Pagels

Senior Lecturer

Portrait of Joakim Pagels

Emissions of soot, PAHs, ultrafine particles, NOx, and other health relevant compounds from stressed burning of candles in indoor air


  • Christina Andersen
  • Yuliya Omelekhina
  • Berit Brøndum Rasmussen
  • Mette Nygaard Bennekov
  • Søren Nielsen Skov
  • Morten Køcks
  • Kai Wang
  • Bo Strandberg
  • Fredrik Mattsson
  • Merete Bilde
  • Marianne Glasius
  • Joakim Pagels
  • Aneta Wierzbicka

Summary, in English

Burning candles release a variety of pollutants to indoor air, some of which are of concern for human health. We studied emissions of particles and gases from the stressed burning of five types of pillar candles with different wax and wick compositions. The stressed burning was introduced by controlled fluctuating air velocities in a 21.6 m3 laboratory chamber. The aerosol physicochemical properties were measured both in well-mixed chamber air and directly above the candle flame with online and offline techniques. All candles showed different emission profiles over time with high repeatability among replicates. The particle mass emissions from stressed burning for all candle types were dominated by soot (black carbon; BC). The wax and wick composition strongly influenced emissions of BC, PM2.5 , and particle-phase polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and to lower degree ultrafine particles, inorganic and organic carbon fraction of PM, but did not influence NOx , formaldehyde, and gas-phase PAHs. Measurements directly above the flame showed empirical evidence of short-lived strong emission peaks of soot particles. The results show the importance of including the entire burn time of candles in exposure assessments, as their emissions can vary strongly over time. Preventing stressed burning of candles can reduce exposure to pollutants in indoor air.


  • Ergonomics and Aerosol Technology
  • Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University
  • NanoLund: Center for Nanoscience

Publishing year







Indoor Air





Document type

Journal article




  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health




  • ISSN: 0905-6947