Burning incense sticks for prayers can be bad for health, say Thai scientists

THE Ministry of Health in Thailand has issued repeated warnings against the burning of incense sticks and papers, because they could release health-threatening chemicals and toxic smoke.

Scientists from Academia Sinica’s Research Centre have shown that burning joss paper can cause people to inhale carcinogenic particles. In fact, one study showed that the level of airborne particles at a temple exceeded the World Health Organisation’s level by two times.

However, the Thai government understands that there is a need to factor in social dimensions if regulations are needed over this matter. A spokesperson from the Silpakorn University in Thailand suggested that cooperation between the government and temples would be the best way to embrace change.