#incense The study followed 61,320 men and women between the ages of 45 and 74 for 12 years. When burned, incense releases carcinogens such as polyaromatic hyodrcarbons (PAHs), a class of toxins that includes formaldehyde and that has been linked to lung cancer in smokers. An earlier study found PAH content in temples that burn incense up to 45 times higher than in homes where people smoke. Incense typically contains other carcinogens such as carbonyls and benzene, which can trigger DNA mutations in human cells. Although the components of incense typically include benign plant and flower matter along with essential oils, most formulations also incorporate not-so-benign artificial fragrances and binders. The smoke produced as incense burns releases particulate matter, and because it slowly smolders, it releases even higher concentrations.” Sudy made by Study director Dr. Jeppe Friborg, of Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen
As Dr. Len Horvitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said, “Anything that affects air quality negatively is not a good thing. Burning in general and the release of smoke, these things are certainly to be avoided. At the very least, chemical irritants will set off asthma, and that’s reversible. Cancer is not reversible.”
“This is not unlike the type of risk that one experiences from secondhand tobacco smoke,” said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld of the American Cancer Society.
“Burning incense produces particulates greater than 45 mg/g burned as compared to only 10 mg/g burned for cigarettes–more than four times the load. So if you’re sitting right on top of burning incense and breathing it in, you’re getting a heavier whack of particulates than you would from smoking.”
“Incense has been implicated before in numerous studies (along with its cousin, scented candles). One such study found that exposure to burning incense at least once a week during pregnancy increases the risk that the child will develop leukemia by 2.7 times. ”
“Another measured air quality in several Dutch churches that burned candles and incense and found the particulate levels 20 times higher than they were next to a typical busy road. Other studies have determined links between incense allergic contact dermatitis, various respiratory conditions including asthma, and cancers of the nervous system.”
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