Even burning incense may affect you

Incense sticks and dhoop form an essential part of all rituals in every Indian household, but do give a second thought the next time you burn them at home. A new study , conducted in Delhi and NCR, has found that burning the aromatic sticks generates indoor air pollutants that can trigger respiratory diseases.

Researchers at Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute have found that burning of incense sticks and dhoop leads to increase in the concentration of particulate matter (PM) by about 15 times more than the permitted levels. The smoke emitted by incense sticks releases harmful pollutants and PM 1.0, PM2.5 and PM10.

While the daily permissible limit for PM10 is 100 micro grams per cubic metre and 60 micrograms per cubic metre for PM2.5, the study found that mean concentration of PM10, PM2.5 and PM1.0 levels increased by 1879.7 microgram per cubic metre, 1775.4 gm3 and 1,300.1gm3 during burning of the sticks indoors. On the other hand, mean concentration of PM10, PM2.5 and PM 1.0 levels rose up to 854.1gm3, 779.8 gm3 and 699.8 m3, respectively during burning of incense sticks.

“Incenses sticks and dhoop cause indoor combustion, which leads to an increase in the concentration of particulate matter, leading to inflammatory changes in bronchitis,“ said Dr Rajkumar, head of pulmonology department at Vallabhai Patel Chest Institute. Dr. Rajkumar, along with lmonologists Dr. Nitesh pulmonologists Dr. Nitesh Gupta, Dr. Deepak Kumar, Dr.Amil Kumar Mavi, Dr. Kamal Singh and Dr. Manoj Kumar conducted the study in a 14 ft × 10ft× 8 ft sized single room with a 4ft × 1ft window area open for the dispersion of PM and a fan running at the speed of 110 rpm (revolutions per minute).The team placed a Grimm Por table Laser Aerosol Spectrometer and a dust monitor in the room to measure the levels of pollutants over one month.

The doctors monitored PM levels before, during and after burning of incense sticks and dhoop. The statistical analysis in the study showed that there was no significant difference between incense sticks and dhoop for PM10, PM2.5 and PM1.0 concentrations in the pre-burning phase.dhoop

However, during the burning phase, the PM10, PM2.5 and PM1.0 concentrations were highest for dhoop, followed by incense (flora sticks), mosquito coil and incense sticks (sandal). Shockingly , the concentration of particulate matter was found to be higher even in the post-burning phase.

Source: TOI 11 Nov’2015