-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Burning incense indoors
releases air pollutants that cause inflammation in human lung
cells, a new study finds.
Researchers identified and measured particles and gases released
from two kinds of incense widely used in homes in the United Arab
Emirates. Human lung cells were placed in the chamber while the
incense was burned.
The inflammatory response in the lung cells exposed to the
incense was similar to that seen in lung cells exposed to cigarette
smoke, according to the study in the August issue of the journal
Science of the Total Environment.
Both types of incense -- Oudh and Bahkoor -- are made with
agarwood, which is taken from trees that develop an aromatic smell
in response to fungal infection. Bahkoor has a number of additives,
including sandalwood tree resin, essential oils and other
substances, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The investigators found that both types of incense emitted
pollutants at significant levels, including carbon monoxide,
formaldehyde and nitrogen oxides. Therefore, people should open a
window or door or take other steps to improve ventilation when
burning incense, the study authors suggested.
Previous research by one of the study co-authors, Karin Yeatts,
and her colleagues linked incense smoke with a number of health
problems, such as: irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and skin;
asthma and other respiratory symptoms; headaches; worsening of
cardiovascular disease; and changes in lung-cell structure.
Indoor air pollution is an international health concern. The
World Health Organization estimates that more than 1 million people
a year die from respiratory diseases, most of which are due to
exposure to pollutants from cook stoves and open hearths. Burning
incense releases similar pollutants.
The American Lung Association has more about
indoor air quality.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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