Toasting bread and turkey roasts release dangerous level of "fine particles" that can cause serious health hazards: Study
University of Texas researchers found safest way to heat bread is to 'go for gold' after it was found that toasters release toxic particles the moment they are turned on.
A burnt toast could expose people to more toxic air than if they were standing on a busy road, a new research has concluded. Furthermore, it was found that cooking a Sunday roast can raise pollution levels way above those in city centers.
Pollutant levels after cooking a roast turkey were 13 times higher than those in central London, experts found, Daily Mail reports.
The study also indicated that toasting two slices of bread caused twice as much air pollution seen in the city for 15 to 20 minutes, equivalent to three times the safety limit set by the World Health Organisation.
In order to avoid exposure to dangerous levels of toxic airborne particles, experts issued a public warning to families to open windows and turn on exhaust fans while cooking. Prolonged exposure to these particles beyond a point can trigger breathing problems and increase the risk of heart disease, they said.
Researchers at the University of Colorado conducted an experiment to measure pollution levels in a 1,200sq ft home rigged up with advanced sensors. They found that fats burned during cooking as well as fumes from gas hobs that lingered for around an hour after use were particularly detrimental to one's health.
Lead author Marina Vance of the University of Colorado told the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington DC that the results were "surprising" and that "even the simple act of making toast raised particle levels far higher than expected."
According to Professor Vance, these ‘ultra-fine particles’ found in the house are small enough to pass through the lungs into the bloodstream and are known to deposit in organs such as the heart, liver, lungs, and brain.
"Similar tiny particles are produced by diesel cars and have been linked to heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer," she added.
Professor Joost de Gouw, a pollution expert at the University of Colorado, said, "All of us were just blown away by how high concentrations can get inside. You will be exposed for an hour, it’s not a few minutes... Roasting will see you exposed for two or three hours."
According to scientists, scented candles, toasters, wood-burning stoves, and gas cookers could create health hazards for people cooking and cleaning inside their homes. Toasters, especially, release toxic particles into the air from the moment they are turned on, another study by the University of Texas at Austin found.
Researchers said the safest way to cook breakfast toasts is to only allow the bread to become light brown in color. "When you make toast, the heating element starts warming up the debris and gunk in the toaster which includes oils," Vance said.
"Add to that the bread itself - it's going to emit a range of things. We found ethanol, a by-product of yeast. If there's tiny pieces of bread touching the heating element you can see from the smoke, maybe from the crumbs at the bottom of the toaster - they will all make a lot of particles. It's led to what would be considered "very unhealthy" air pollution levels compared to the outdoor air quality standards."
While the UC experiment's results are yet to be established, Vance advised people to play safe and keep their respective homes well ventilated while cooking, cleaning, or conducting any other household activities.