Feb. 17, 2010 -- Gas stoves may give off more harmful fumes than electric stoves when cooking meat.
The finding comes from a study in which steaks were pan-fried under conditions typical for a kitchen in a Western European restaurant.
Researchers fried 17 beef steaks, each 14 ounces, either with margarine or soybean oil, on gas or electric stoves.
They measured the amount of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), ultrafine particles, and other potentially harmful substances in the breathing zones of the cooks.
Higher levels of PAHs, considered possible cancer-causing substances, were detected when the frying was done on a gas stove. And the peak concentration of ultrafine particles was greater when frying on a gas stove.
The researchers note that exposure to ultrafine particles from the air can cause worsening allergies and lung inflammation. They also note that the levels found in the study were under established safe ranges for both particles and PAHs.
They conclude that "exposure to cooking fumes should be reduced as much as possible."
Though other factors are involved in production of fumes from cooking, they say that "frying on a gas stove instead of an electric stove causes increased occupational exposure to some of the components in cooking fumes which may cause adverse health effects."
The study is published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.