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Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
Date:2/19/2010

Study finds more fumes that are likely carcinogenic than with electric ranges

FRIDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Slaving over a hot stove -- make that a hot gas stove -- might raise your risk for certain types of cancer.

Researchers in Norway have found that cooking with gas produces more potentially harmful fumes than electric cooking.

But, in a report published online Feb. 17 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, they also point out that professional chefs and cooks are more at risk than the average at-home cook.

"The risk to average at-home cookers is low, at least under Norwegian conditions, where most homes have a kitchen exhaust fan," said study author Ann Kristin Sjaastad, who's with the industrial economics and technology management department in the division of health environment and safety at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. "Yes, professional chefs/cooks are most at risk, but further studies are necessary to estimate their risk level."

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified cooking fumes from frying at high temperatures as "probably carcinogenic." The fumes have been found to contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), heterocyclic amines, higher and mutated aldehydes, and fine and ultrafine particles.

But a remaining question has been what role, if any, does the energy source -- gas or electric-- or type of fat used in frying play in producing the fumes.

The researchers created a kitchen typical of those in Western European restaurants, measuring 19 square meters (62 feet) and containing both a gas stove and an electric stove with a canopy hood.

They fried 17 pieces of beefsteak, each weighing about a pound, in both margarine and soya bean oil for 15 minutes. The only PAH found was napthalene (now banned, but once found in mothballs), most notably when frying with margarine on a
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