This just in from Health Day News: Long Term Exposure to Incense Raises Cancer Risk
Exposure to burning incense over long periods of time raises the risk of developing cancers of the upper respiratory tract, a new study shows.
I guess this is not surprising, though I confess I jumped just a tad this morning when I read it.
“Given that our results are backed by numerous experimental studies showing that incense is a powerful producer of particulate matter and that incense smoke contains carcinogenic substances, I believe incense should be used with caution,” said study author Dr. Jeppe Friborg, of the department of epidemiology research at Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Having asthma, I sometimes feel like a mine canary.
“In our study, we find the increased risk of cancer to be present in individuals reporting frequent use of incense for many years, thus, repeated exposure for years should probably be avoided.”
It stands to reason that those things that produce asthma attacks in the sensitive, will, at greater doses, be harmful to the population at large.
Incense burning produces particulate matter and is known to contain possible carcinogens such as polyaromatic hyodrcarbons (PAHs), carbonyls and benzene.
Incense burning almost doubled the risk of developing squamous cell upper respiratory tract carcinomas including nasal/sinus, tongue, mouth and laryngeal. There was an increased risk both in smokers and in nonsmokers, pointing to an independent effect of incense smoke.
A recent issue of the New Yorker had a piece on a chef with cancer of the tongue . . . ugh. What a horrible disease.
“Anything that affects air quality negatively is not a good thing,” said Dr. Len Horvitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “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.”
Be careful out there.