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Incense is bad for you ???????????? #35357 08/22/03 11:40 AM
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Our Lady's slave Offline OP
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Sorry I cannot give a link for this - the item did not appear in the electronic version of this morning's paper.

Cancer warnings over incense become burning health issue KEITH SINCLAIR

FOR centuries it has played an important role in spiritual worship, or simply been used to create a relaxing atmosphere in the home.

But now fears have been raised that incense may pose a cancer threat to the altar boys and girls who regularly inhale it while serving at funerals.

Dr Jim McDaid, a minister of state in the Irish government's transport ministry, yesterday highlighted the health risk posed by its use

The Irish Roman Catholic Church said it would treat seriously the concerns of Dr McDaid, who claimed altar servers were at risk because they inhaled the carcinogenic substance when it is used at funeral masses.

However, the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland said that although it would keep an open mind on the issue there would need to be more evidence that using incense for short periods was hazardous before it considered halting its use.

Scientists discovered two years ago that burning incense in churches can expose worshippers to dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals and that the substance can create more toxic pollution than road traffic at a busy junction.

Highlighting the threat to altar boys and girls yesterday in a comment on one of Ireland's burning issues of the moment - a government plan to ban smoking in the workplace - Dr McDaid, who operated a medical practice before entering politics and supports the smoking ban, said: "I am not antichurch, anti-smoke or indeed against the use of incense.

SCENT OF AGES
Incense has been used for centuries in many cultures.
Modern sources include the use saltpetre (potassium nitrate) but it appears in many forms including raw woods, chopped herbs, pastes, powders, oils, sticks, and cones.

The Roman Catholic church uses it in funeral ceremonies when the priest performs a blessing over the coffin by swinging a thurible, or metal container, on a chain to disperse the incense.

It is believed incense can clear negative energies and provide a sense of tranquillity to any room or space.
It is thought to balance the mind, increase mental clarity, purify the air, and increase faith.

"But there is a serious aspect to this. We all know that carbon is a carcinogenic agent, and wherever you have smoke, you are actually looking at carbon molecules.
"And whereveryou have carbon molecules and happen to be inhaling them, then there is that chance that you will be doing damage."

A spokeswoman for the Dublin archdiocese said that
although there was no official position on Dr McDaid's remarks, any concerns about the use of incense would be taken seriously by the church.

"Given that it has been raised, I think it is seriously something that should be looked into," she added. "Obviously anything that sends a cloud of smoke into a child's face is something we would be concerned about."

Father John McCann, master of ceremonies to the Archbishop of Dublin, said he believed there was growing awareness about the potential effects of the smoke from incense. He said: "For example, in a large church building where there is plenty of space, I would be less worried. But in a small church building you have to be particularly aware, particularly if there are servers suffering from asthma."

Peter Kearney, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland, said: "Without more evidence it is difficult to draw any conclusions except that incense has been used for generations with no suggestion of untoward effects among priests or parishioners.

"The church will always be open to best practice and learning from others' experience so we will keep an open mind on the issue but there would need to be a great deal more evidence suggesting it was hazardous before we stopped using it. Incense is little used and when it is used it is for short periods."
Incense, which many people also burn in stick or cone form to relax at home, was widely used for ceremonial purposes during benediction and high mass at Roman Catholic churches. However, it is now most often used at funeral masses when the priest performs a blessing over the coffin before it is carried out of the church.

Powdered incense is poured on top of charcoal-like blocks in a heat-resistant thurible, or metal container, which the priest swings as he walks round the coffin. The incense, which is used as a purifier, produces a distinctive smoke and aroma.


The Herald 22 August 2003

Re: Incense is bad for you ???????????? #35358 08/22/03 01:10 PM
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Diak Offline
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If this is true then keep them away from charcoal grills, fireworks and campfires also.

Re: Incense is bad for you ???????????? #35359 08/22/03 01:24 PM
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It makes "cense" really. Inhaling any kind of smoke is bad for you. No wonder Roman Catholics have been living longer since vatican II did away with incense use, for the most part biggrin

Columcille

Re: Incense is bad for you ???????????? #35360 08/22/03 02:14 PM
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As I grow older, my respiratory system becomes less tolerant to the stuff, no matter how much I appreciate it in an aesthetic and religious sense. My daughter can't tolerate it - she spends most Divine Liturgies in the cry room. When my now 6 year old son was a baby, during one heavy liturgical season I thought he had a cold, until I realized that all his coughing, sneezing and copius mucus emissions ceased when we were not in church.

At the very least, the stuff is a big potential respiratory irritant.


Sharon

Re: Incense is bad for you ???????????? #35361 08/22/03 04:41 PM
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Oh yeah! I see people dropping to the floor all the time when Father Deacon passes them censing the icons at All-Night Vigil!!!!!!!!!

Re: Incense is bad for you ???????????? #35362 08/22/03 04:48 PM
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Good point, Brian. I have been to services where the entire thing was a big cloud and everyone survived.

Try using one pill of incense instead of three or four at a time if it is really that big of a problem.

Re: Incense is bad for you ???????????? #35363 08/22/03 05:20 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Columcille:
No wonder Roman Catholics have been living longer since vatican II did away with incense use, for the most part biggrin

Columcille
Yes, except for those of us who "die with embarrassment" every time we see a newspaper headline ... lately!

Re: Incense is bad for you ???????????? #35364 08/22/03 06:09 PM
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Much depends on what sort of incense we use. I can well believe that some of the horrible stuff on sale commercially would have negative effects. Best to spend the money and buy good, natural incense (like from Greece) which burns clean, smells lovely, and is unlikely to cause cancer. Our good monks breathe lots of such incense every day of their lives, and I know of no information to suggest that monks die young of cancer as a result of the incense! Me, I'd rather fight than switch. Incognitus

Re: Incense is bad for you ???????????? #35365 08/22/03 06:13 PM
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Just wondering if some folks also taunt paraplegics because they can't walk?

Some people are unable to tolerate smoke. This isn't a moral failing or political correctness run amuck. It's simply the way the good Lord put their lungs, airways and immune systems together.

With respect to the long-term exposure of children to incense (and we need to define "long term") it's a topic that bears study. Children are not small adults, and proportionately their exposure tends to be higher than that of adults in the same situation.


Sharon

Re: Incense is bad for you ???????????? #35366 08/22/03 06:56 PM
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Is trying to use less incense not being sensitive? I thought that was a reasonable suggestion. confused

Re: Incense is bad for you ???????????? #35367 08/22/03 07:24 PM
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I also think that in addition to using smaller amounts of incense that limiting the censing of the congregation to the front rather than walking up and down the isle is another acceptable compromise. Those with asthma or allergies can keep to the back and avoid it as far as possible. This works in my parish.

In Christ,
Subdeacon Lance


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
Re: Incense is bad for you ???????????? #35368 08/22/03 07:37 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Diak:
Is trying to use less incense not being sensitive? I thought that was a reasonable suggestion. confused
I think she was referring to Brian's sarcastic comment.

Re: Incense is bad for you ???????????? #35369 08/22/03 11:26 PM
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Ask your priest for permission to use a good menthol cough drop. I use Halls and it makes a world of difference in the bodies ability to withstand the incense.

Re: Incense is bad for you ???????????? #35370 08/22/03 11:34 PM
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Brian Offline
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Sharon,

I'm sorry that I offended you and NO, I don't laugh at parapalegics. My oldest sister has cerebral palsy.

Re: Incense is bad for you ???????????? #35371 08/23/03 12:13 AM
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I've heard for some time that "kadylo" it may cause cancer, so the article doesn't surprise my humble self. But, really - what in this world doesn't cause cancer?

Yours,

kl

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