Infants continuously exposed to incense smoke at home are more likely to show signs of slower development, a study by National Taiwan University’s (NTU) Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene said.
The infants took on average one to two months longer to develop gross motor skills, compared with other children, said institute director Chen Pau-chung (陳保中), who presented the research findings on Saturday at a forum held by NTU’s College of Public Health.
Babies who were continuously exposed to incense smoke had a 44 percent higher risk of being slow to learn to walk with support, compared with babies who were not exposed to smoke, while babies who were periodically exposed — such as during holidays and festivals — had a 26 percent higher risk, the study found.
Chen and his research team analyzed and compared the development of children who were continuously or periodically exposed to incense smoke at six and 18 months of age using data on 15,310 children collected via home visits and interviews by the Taiwan Birth Cohort Study — a longitudinal study of children born in 2005.
The effect on children’s development has to do with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, lead and other heavy metals found in incense, Chen said.
People are concerned about the health risks posed by cooking fumes, cigarette smoke, humidity, dust mites and other allergens and harmful substances, but incense smoke is also a risk factor, he said.
Burning incense at home is a religious practice, so it would be difficult to prevent it, Chen said.
He recommended burning incense only for short periods on holidays and festivals, and maintaining good air ventilation.
The effects of incense smoke on health are smaller than those of second-hand smoke and third-hand smoke, he added.
Another risk factor that is often overlooked is electric mosquito repellent tablets, he said, adding that the devices should not be kept on all night.
To avoid respiratory discomfort caused by humidity, Chen recommended closing the windows and using a dehumidifier to keep indoor humidity at 40 to 60 percent.
Additional reporting by CNA
RISK FACTORS: ‘We hope people can cooperate and endure it ... it is possibly the very important last mile,’ Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations are to remain the same next month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The center reported 42,112 new local COVID-19 cases and 85 deaths, saying that the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has dropped to a new low this month. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said that the center is keeping COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations the same due to the local virus situation, and an increase in the number of imported cases of the new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 of SARS-CoV-2, among other risk factors. Easing
TRAVEL CONFERENCE: Representatives from the two countries exchanged views on how to increase tourist numbers, with one identifying individual travel as a trend Taiwan and South Korea aim to increase the number of tourists traveling between the two countries to 3 million, government and tourism industry representatives said at a conference in Hsinchu City yesterday. The annual event was attended by Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯); Tourism Bureau Director-General Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰); Taiwan Visitors Association chairwoman Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭); South Korean Representative to Taiwan Chung Byung-won; Yoon Ji-sook, an official at the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; and Korea Association of Travel Agents chairman Oh Chang-hee. Global tourism is expected to soon rebound to between 55 and
DAMAGE CONTROL: The KMT in a statement called the Taiwan Strait ‘international waters,’ after Alexander Huang said China had the right to claim it as internal waters Lawmakers and experts yesterday accused the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) envoy to the US Alexander Huang (黃介正) of acting as China’s stooge, after he said that Beijing has the right to claim waters beyond its maritime territory as its exclusive economic zone and that the US has no legal basis to assert that the Taiwan Strait is an “international waterway.” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said in an online post that most of the world considers the Strait an international waterway, adding that this is important for safeguarding Taiwan. “We have seen US warships transiting through the Taiwan Strait.
The Taichung District Court yesterday sentenced to nine years in prison an unlicensed judo coach who caused the death of a seven-year-old student after slamming him onto the ground more than a dozen times. In its decision against the coach, a man surnamed Ho (何), the court cited his lack of remorse for using excessive force against an inadequately trained child and his failure to reconcile with the parents for his role in their son’s death. Speaking on behalf of the boy’s mother, Taichung City Councilor Jacky Chen (陳清龍) said the family would appeal to a higher court. Prosecutors said that Ho on