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Physical characterization of incense aerosols


Experiments were performed to study the physical characteristics of smoke aerosols generated by burning three types of stick incense in a 4 m3 clean room. Sidestream cigarette smoke was also examined under the same conditions to provide a comparison. Among the parameters measured were (a) masses of aerosol, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides generated by burning the incense or cigarettes, (b) rates of decay of the particles from the air, and (c) estimates of count median particle size during a 7 h period post-burning. There was variability among the types of incense studied with respect to many of the parameters. Also, as a general trend, the greater the initial particulate mass concentration, the more rapid the rate of decay of the smoke. In relation to the quantity of particulate generated, cigarette smoke was found to produce proportionally larger quantities of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides than did incense. Due to the fact that burning incense was found to generate large quantities of particulate (an average of greater than 45 mg/g burned, as opposed to about 10 mg/g burned for the cigarettes), it is likely, in cases in which incense is habitually burned in indoor settings, that such a practice would produce substantial airborne particulate concentrations.

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