Incense has been used for thousands of years as part of religious ceremonies in cultures around the world. It's not clear exactly where and when the practice began — it may date back to ancient Egypt — but today, people around the world commonly burn incense in their homes for personal aesthetics.

Incense itself is natural stuff, typically derived from fragrant plant parts, like tree bark, resins, roots, flowers and essential oils. But burning these materials can produce harmful substances, including benzene and polyaromatic hydrocarbons, and new research shows that there may be a link between incense use and respiratory illness.

In a new study published in the European Respiratory Journal, researchers found that children from homes with regular incense burning have a higher risk of developing asthma. Kids whose parents burned incense were 36 percent more likely to have asthma and 64 percent more likely to wheeze when they exercised.

So does this study mean it's time to give up the sticks? If you have kids and burn incense regularly, it may be time to rethink the practice. Are you an incense user? What do you think of these findings?

[via Reuters]

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