Exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), mutagenic aldehydes and particulate matter during pan frying of beefsteak

Cooking with gas or electrical stoves produces fumes, especially during frying, that contain a range of harmful and potentially mutagenic compounds as well as high levels of fine and ultrafine particles. In this study, the authors investigated if polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and higher mutagenic aldehydes which were collected in the breathing zone of the cook, could be detected in fumes from the frying of beefsteak. The frying was performed in a model kitchen in conditions similar to those in a Western European restaurant kitchen. The levels of PAHs (16 EPA standard) and higher aldehydes (trans, trans-2,4-decadienal, 2,4-decadienal, trans-trans-2,4-nonadienal, trans-2-decenal, cis-2-decenal, trans-2-undecenal, 2-undecenal) were measured during frying on an electrical or gas stove with margarine or soya bean oil as the frying fat. The concentration of particles <100 nm in size (ultrafine) was also measured, as well as the mass concentration of total particulate matter. The results showed that the levels of naphthalene were in the range of 0.15-0.27 íg/m3 air. Measured levels of mutagenic aldehydes were between non-detectable and 61.80 íg/m3 air. The exposure level of total aerosol was between 1.6 and 7.2 mg/m3 air. Peak concentrations of ultrafine particles were in the range of 6.0 x 104-89.6 x 104particles/cm3 air. The authors concluded that naphthalene and mutagenic aldehydes were detected in most of the samples. The levels were variable, and seemed to be dependent on many factors involved in the frying process. However, according to the present results, frying on a gas stove instead of an electrical stove causes increased occupational exposure to some of the components in cooking fumes which may cause adverse health effects.

Authors: Sjaastad, Ann Kristin; Joergensen, Rikke Bramming; Svendsen, Kristin ;Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2010, 67(4), 228-232 (Eng) ;