But scientists have now found that regularly burning joss sticks increases the risk of certain mouth, throat and lung cancers.
The 12-year study backs up previous research showing that incense smoke contains cancer-causing chemicals such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons, carbonyls and benzene, which cause mutations to DNA in human cells.
— From Incense smoke may increase the risk of developing some cancers in The Guardian.
Stopped using incense indoors about 18 mo ago after reading another report that was more alarming than this one…and HATE to see the word “candles” in that article too. These days I treat a little bedroom in my house as the fragrance equivalent of an opium den: a place to burn candles, a stick of incense every blue moon, without subjecting my poor cats to carcinogens. Fun times!
Ack, didn't even notice that it mentioned candles. Ah well, what can you do?
The article doesn't note the difference between joss sticks and incense made without them. It's often the sticks that are to blame. In India and other countries where they are produced, they often use recycled wooden pallettes, and they are often treated with chemicals to discourage rot. Also, synthetic chemicals are added to extend the incense. I believe DPG is one.
It's not the aromatics, it's the carrier – the stick. Still, people should not burn them all the time, it's just not prudent.
With candles, again, it's often the wick that is to blame, or the petrochemical/parrafin candles with synthetic aromatics. The wicks often contain lead.
I'm actually against lots of fragrance in the air, period. That goes for diffusing natural essential oils, too. We're just not meant to have that overload in our respiratory system and worse, taxing our liver.
well, I guess like foie gras, cake and wine, it's all about moderation ;-D I usually only buy candles where I know the wicks are lead free, like Yankee.
Eek! That's scary. But it's good to be mindful, fragrance is in so many products and it all adds up.
Bummer, I love my Manuel Canova Empire Celeste candle…..
Gosh, aren't most wicks lead free these days? In niche candles?
I have not tried those candles, are they wonderful?
I'm probably one of the few, but I gave up candles and incense when I first got involved with perfume; I'd rather smell me, frankly. Though, I have such an affinity for joss sticks.
One day, they're gonna come out and just admit that everything emits carcinogens and their isn't a thing we can do about it.
And, while we're on the subject of fragrant rooms, I just broke my nearly-full bottle of Dzongkha (the only bottle of perfume I actually still wear) on the desk-chair carpet. It'll be just like living there! xD
I had read similar a few months ago, also about diffusers. Apparently even certain natural essential oils tend to break down and produce harmful chemicals when burnt. (with the same results) Candles should never be burnt to their last from what I have heard, but thrown when they still have a good bit left….
As for the Manuel Canovas candles… OH YES, they are absolutely wonderful…! So wonderful in fact that I am now very curious about their scents too.
I saw this coming, but not soon enough to not have inhaled enough incense to f*** me up for life… Actually, it was my dad who told me that burning candles in a house is like smoking 3 cigarettes every day or something like that. Bummer…
i live on a houseboat with my dog, and between the tide and the terrier, the place can be a bit whiffy. My dream is to walk in after a long day of slog and be immediately uplifted by gloriously scented air. To that end I have burned all kinds of incense and a ton of candles, inhaled all the crud pursuant thereto, and never been satisfied by the staying power of either. I have now gone back to my Lampe Berger, which has good “throw”, burns very clean, and hopefully has less of the damaging stuff. Alas, not much staying power though. I'm wearing Dzongkha today, BTW… not sure I'd want my place to smell of it, but I'm enjoying it on my wrist.
Oh yes, they are quite lovely. Even the small candle burns for several hours. I like all the cents, but the Empire Celeste is heavenly, do try if you get the chance!
Bummer about the Dzongkha! It is an amazing scent. Hope you don't get sick of it. I broke a bottle of Organza once and now I can't smell it without getting ill!
Thanks! I'm pretty cheap w/ candles but who knows…maybe I'll spring for one.
But diffusers don't burn?
I'll take the 3 cigarettes then
Oh, so very sorry about your Dzongkha!!!
I'd like a Lampe Berger, or the Parfums de Nicolai version — the scents all sound so wonderful.
You're welcome! Manuel Canova candles are pricey but well worth it. They last forever and scent the room even when they aren't lit.
Oh, no. It's just as beautiful as on my skin. I only smell it when I first walk into my room, anyway.
This kind of thing drives me nuts – inhaling when a car is driving by can prod a cell into derangement – it's all a crapshoot. It's like everyone wants to deprive us of all our pleasures in favor of living another day in The Home.
I have to be honest, I think that 3 cigs analogy is probably an “old husband's tale” — I really don't buy sayings like that. Such as when I was going to school in NYC and a friend said “someone” had told her that each day lived breathing NYC air was like smoking a half pack or something. Ok, that's my two cents, I'm going to go inhale some genuine oak moss accord now…
OK, I managed to spend more than 24 hours since you posted saying, “I don't see this, I don't see this….” And I'm not going to go read that Guardian article either. I don't burn incense as much as I did a few years ago, but I think the products of Japan-based Nippon Kodo and Shoiyedo are amazing (and the NK packaging is beautiful). When they outlaw incense, only outlaws will… well, you get my point.
Guess what I just did: Lit some tea lights and a little stick of NK “Citrus Green” incense on my mantel. Until they release a study showing that Buddhist monks are dropping like flies, I'm going to blow raspberries and these researchers who are trying to allow us to make “informed choices” that seem to suck every last bit of pleasure out of life. Ahhhh, this incense smells fantastic!
I burn incense once in a blue moon, and I burn candles in the kitchen a few times a week. I'm not going to worry about it either