Is incense dangerous for children? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 09-19-2010, 12:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I used to burn a lot of incense and essential oils until a few years ago when 2 people told me that it was dangerous for children to breathe it. So I stopped. But I really miss it. So, what do you think? Dangerous or ok? We have the windows open all day if we are home.
My children's age are: 14, 11 and 19 months.

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#2 of 16 Old 09-19-2010, 12:31 AM
 
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An awful lot of religions use it and I don't hear about it impacting the health of the children in those cultures.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#3 of 16 Old 09-19-2010, 02:08 AM
 
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I had heard that they could be harmful/irritating to the lungs, esp if the kids are sensitive or have asthma/allergies. But I don't have any research on hand to confirm -- I just stopped using anything that had that potential when my son came along.
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#4 of 16 Old 09-19-2010, 02:19 AM
 
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I've never heard anything in general but I do have a friend who stopped burning incense becaues he realized that some really weird and scary sleep things started happening when he started burning... stopped when he stopped. However I'm certain there are some other major things going on with him so I think its a pretty person specific anicdote. Just thought I'd share that it can definitely negatively impact someone haha.
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#5 of 16 Old 09-19-2010, 02:20 AM
 
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A Google search yielded this:
http://healthychild.org/blog/comment...and_potpourri/

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#6 of 16 Old 09-19-2010, 02:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh wow, thank you everyone. That link is very interesting... and I guess I have my answer now...

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#7 of 16 Old 09-19-2010, 03:02 AM
 
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I ran a new mom's group for many years and used to caution against candles, incense, febreeze, and glade plug ins. Don't add harmful chemicals to your family's air.
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#8 of 16 Old 10-02-2010, 09:14 PM
 
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Sorry, I'm going to jump and disagree with the outright banning of incense. I literally have incense burning right now, so I guess it's pretty clear what my opinion of incense is. Really though, I think it's a little paranoid to outright label incense or scented candles as something highly toxic. Okay, yes, incense smoke is going to have some particulate matter in it. Don't go overboard and burn a whole package at once and I think you are okay.

I guess I feel it's extreme to swear off incense, even though it's something that you enjoy, because of "links to causing cancer." Living in modern American society in general is linked to the development of cancer. I personally pick my battles. I don't have a particularly toxic home, and eliminate a lot of environmental no-nos, and am more aware of that kind of stuff than most people I know. But realistically, I'm not going to abstain from everything I enjoy on the off chance that we'll all get cancer and die. I just don't believe in living my life that way.

On the other hand, I wouldn't be caught dead using anything like Febreeze - there ARE creepy chemicals in that kind of stuff. Have you read those ingredient lists?! But some sandalwood paste smeared on a thin stick and then burned is okay with me. Or even in a cone, there's no wood to burn at all! Call me crazy! Maybe I'm also a little less sensitive because I live in an area where many homes are solely heated with wood-burning stoves, and it gets -30 every year. How much "particulate matter" do those houses have in them? And will their children all die of cancer?

For the record, I might burn one, maybe two sticks of incense every few days. My home is not a haven of smoke or anything. It's just nice to have a new smell when, you know, someone in the family has deposited a mighty unpleasant smell in, say, the bathroom.

ETA: If my son or anyone in my family had developed a sensitivity to it, or had a condition like asthma, it wouldn't even be a question - we'd never use it again. But everyone in our family is fine with it, so it stays.

Everyone makes choices for themselves, and I'm not here to offend, just throwing in my 2 cents! Hope that's okay.

K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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#9 of 16 Old 10-03-2010, 02:59 PM
 
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MovnMama, you make a good point. But not all incense is JUST "sandalwood paste on a stick." Lots of it has fake coloring and chemicals and artificial scents, which I wouldn't want. So can you recommend where to get "natural" incense?
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#10 of 16 Old 10-03-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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[QUOTE=MovnMama;15907882]

On the other hand, I wouldn't be caught dead using anything like Febreeze - there ARE creepy chemicals in that kind of stuff. Have you read those ingredient lists?!

/QUOTE]



Agreed! I am right there with you!

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#11 of 16 Old 10-03-2010, 06:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post
MovnMama, you make a good point. But not all incense is JUST "sandalwood paste on a stick." Lots of it has fake coloring and chemicals and artificial scents, which I wouldn't want. So can you recommend where to get "natural" incense?
Oh, you are so right! I've bought the same brand for years, and now you've reminded me of that creepy stuff in the grocery store that's, like, dyed teal and other garish colors. Yuck. I would never use that kind of stuff in my house - not even that it's creepy chemicals, but it also smells bad!

I have always burned the traditional Nag Champa from India. There are different brands, but I always buy the Satya Sai Baba brand. Any good "hippie crap" store, as I call them, should have it (think any shop that sells wraparound skirts, blown glass and ear gauges. That kind of place! ) It's fairly cheap, and I used to buy in bulk, like 100 gram packs. This is what it is - look for the blue package: http://www.nagchampa.com/incense_saibaba.html

Here are links I found on ingredients and how it's made:

http://www.ehow.com/about_5376706_na...gredients.html

http://www.thegreatergreen.com/gifts...nagchampa.html

This is just my personal favorite stuff, but there are other options. If you don't like the idea of burning wood, you can go with cone or no-wood stick incense (I think those are called joss sticks). Joss sticks are from China and Japan (as opposed to Nag, from India) and they are made without wood, and you have to put them in sand or something for them to stand up. Good scents for joss sticks are jasmine and sandalwood. But I think my scent preferences are becoming clear!

I've tried this type before but can't find the brand (only a quick internet search - sorry!). Might have been Tendan or Daigen Koh, but I just don't remember now. I had problems with them staying lit so went back to my good old Nag. I would look for a box that is clearly made in japan - if you are not into the "hippy crap store" idea, a good "world" or "multicultural" store should have a decent natural incense selection as well. Think the stores that sell kalimbas and batiks and wooden hand drums. ETA: I think these stores are called "import stores" which probably is more politically correct.

I've recently tried a cone brand from India (from the hippy crap store!), and been pretty happy with it. I'm not at home but I'll post the brand name when I get home tonight.

K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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#12 of 16 Old 10-03-2010, 08:01 PM
 
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Okay, the cone incense I've been using is called Namaste. It's this brand: http://www.rexpoindia.com/pdetails.a...type=3&search= I've got the cinnamon, which I like a lot, and amber, which I'm not as happy with. Ingredients listed look pretty legit to me.

K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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#13 of 16 Old 10-03-2010, 10:49 PM
 
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Excellent! Thanks for the info. Sorry to hijack....
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#14 of 16 Old 10-06-2010, 12:50 PM
 
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isn't smoke bad to breathe in in general? anything creating smoke would be irritating to the lungs no?

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#15 of 16 Old 11-24-2010, 01:31 AM
 
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Interesting topic. My lungs are really sensitive, and I sometimes notice a slight difficulty breathing when I burn incense, so I guess no matter what type it is, the smoke itself can at least irritate if not worse. I love love love Nag Champa (the Sai Baba kind) and it's good to read that link that it's not harmful. I have found a lot of natural incense in Nepal and India, but of course it is more expensive than the generic run of the mill stuff. I stocked up last time I was there and have a big drawerfull of it. Anyway, I have yet to burn any since DS was born (6 mo ago), and I think I also only burned it maybe once or twice while I was preggers. I think it can't harm much every once in awhile - I agree with the PP who said you've got to pick your battles and if we're living as toxic-free as we can (under our control, of course there's a LOT we can't control) then I think it's okay to sometimes knowingly do something that *could* cause harm if done in larger quantities.

 

My thing is candles. I love candles. They are part of our good night routine, and I do worry sometimes about the smoke and soot and whatnot. I knew about the lead wick thing, which I believe are banned in Europe (where I live), but I still always look to see the wicks are only rope. I think the best candles are the beeswax ones, but again you have to pay way way more for those. After reading this thread though, I am thinking I should maybe switch to beeswax because we burn candles for about 1/2 hour every evening and I would not like to think that's harming me or DS. Hmmmmm....


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#16 of 16 Old 11-27-2010, 08:29 PM
 
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Many incense triggers my asthma.  My son's eye allergies start.  My husband will cough and he lived with a smoker until 12 years ago. 

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