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J Occup Environ Hyg. 2013;10(3):122-31. doi: 10.1080/15459624.2012.755864.

Simulated restaurant cook exposure to emissions of PAHs, mutagenic aldehydes, and particles from frying bacon.

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Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.


This study investigated the exposure of cooks to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), higher mutagenic aldehydes, total particles, and ultrafine particles during cooking. Experiments were performed by pan frying fresh and smoked bacon on both electric and gas stoves, and with the gas alone. Detailed analyses of PAHs were performed, with analyses of the levels of 32 different PAHs. A TSI-3939 scanning mobility particle sizer system was used to measure the ultrafine particles. The results showed that total PAHs were in the range of 270-300 ng/m(3) air. However, the smoked bacon experiment showed a somewhat different PAH pattern, whereby retene constituted about 10% of the total PAHs, which is a level similar to that of the abundant gas phase constituent phenanthrene. The reason for the elevated retene emissions is unknown. The total cancer risk, expressed as toxic equivalency factors, showed a somewhat higher risk on the electric stove (p < 0.05) compared with the gas stove. Levels of trans, trans-2,4-decadienal were between 34 and 54 μg/m(3) air. The level of total particles was between 2.2 and 4.2 mg/m(3). Frying on a gas stove caused a statistically significant higher amount of ultrafine particles compared with frying on an electric stove. Large variations in the mobility diameter at peak particle concentration were found (74.4 nm-153.5 nm). The highest mobility diameter was found for frying on an electric stove. The gas flame itself showed a maximum production of 19.5-nm-sized particles and could not be the explanation for the difference between frying on the gas stove and frying on the electric stove. No single indicator for the exposure to cooking fume could be selected. Each compound should be measured independently to provide a comprehensive characterization of the cooking exposure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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