If used incorrectly, firefighters can be dangerous and cause fires to grow out of control. Aside from this, there are some risks to health associated with burning firelighters. Firefighters are often made using paraffin which, when burned, can be an irritant to the lungs. People with asthma and older people may be more affected by this than others. I have also read some articles that suggest that after prolonged exposure paraffin can become a carcinogen.
However, there are firelighters made from different materials that don’t pose any health risks. It’s possible to buy firelighters made from all natural products such as sawdust and vegetable oil. I recently bought some eco firelighters from The Green Olive Firewood and found them to be equally as effective as the paraffin ones I had been using. I noticed that they were also odorless, which is helpful if you plan to use them to get the BBQ going.