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Easy on the Incense

Easy on the Incense

Burning incense might help those dealing with depression, but new research shows regularly burning incense can increase the risk of a cancer health diagnosis.

Incense is generally made from various sweet-smelling plant materials, such as tree bark, resins, flowers, roots and oils. When these compounds are burned, they release potentially cancerous substances: benzene and polyaromatic hydrocarbons.

Thousands of incense users were followed for 12 years who were cancer-free at the beginning of the study. During that time, 325 men and women developed cancer of the upper respiratory tract, such as nasal, oral or throat cancer. Another 821 of the study participants developed a lung cancer health diagnosis. Heavy incense users also had higher rates of a particular kind of cancer (squamous cell carcinoma) that forms in the cells lining the internal and external body surfaces.

Do you burn incense often? How will these findings influence your incense usage? [Reuters]

Posted: 8/31/08
carolineshannon

This is great to know! I burn incense often, in addition to essential oils -- they are great mood lifters! I will definitely have to lay off the incense a bit. Thanks!