Churchgoers and lung cancer

Published on Nov 24, 2004 03:24 PM IST

Churchgoers are at a high risk of getting lung cancer due to unhealthy air caused by candles.

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PTI | ByAsian News International, London

A new study, conducted by researchers at the Maastricht University in Holland, suggests that people who go to the church every day are at a high risk of getting lung cancer due to the unhealthy air caused by candles and incense in the churches.

According to the Telegraph, after nine hours of candle burning, which is a daily ritual in every church, the atmosphere had readings between 12 and 20 times higher than European clean air guidelines. The air quality was worse than in an area used by 45,000 vehicles a day.

The scientists found some free radicals in air as well as fine particulate matter (PM), which is a key ingredient of air pollution and consists of solid particles with a diameter of 10 microns or less. PM10 levels are a standard way to measure air quality.

The study, which was published in the European Respiratory Journal , found that after nine hours the church had PM10 levels that were 600 to 1,000 microgrammes per cubic metre, four times higher than those measured before the first morning mass.

"While we still have to assess precisely what level of risk these people are running and how toxic the newly identified free radicals are, the discovery is very worrying," the report quoted the lead researcher, Dr de Kok, as saying.

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