Before you light your next stick of sandalwood, take note.
The smoke incense produces can negatively impact your health, according to recent findings by scientists at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The data suggest that carcinogens and toxins that adversely affect lung tissue and cardiovascular function may be found in some incense products. “Incense is one of many household pollutants that we are investigating further due to health concerns,” says study author Karin Yeatts, PhD, research assistant professor of epidemiology at UNC. “If you’re still going to burn items indoors, be sure to open windows, or use other ventilation.” Better yet, try a plug-in or a wick diffuser for essential oils, to get the same aromatherapy benefits without the smoke (we like the new Aura Cacia Electric Air Fresheners; $15, auracacia.com). Need recommendations for therapeutic fragrant oils? Sandalwood is great for soothing the mind, lavender relaxes the body, and grapefruit lifts the mood.