My children's age are: 14, 11 and 19 months.
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.
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.
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?!
Agreed! I am right there with you!
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?
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:
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.
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....
Mama since 2010
Multicultural living in Europe