Scientists Explain Why Your Sunday Roast Could Be Killing You

According to research from the University of Colorado, the chemicals released while cooking a roast could make household air more polluted and "worse than Dehli".

Toasting bread could expose people to as much air pollution as if they were standing on a busy road according to a recent study from the University Of Texas.

This occurs when the element in a toaster heats food-debris and the fresh bread together, which emits a range of toxins. Experts say the best way to toast bread it to aim for a golden brown colour.

But toast isn't the only food that can cause some nasty toxins to infiltrate your home sweet home.

Researchers at the University of Colorado found that roasting meat and vegetables released a surge of fine particles that could make household air even dirtier than that in Delhi, India.

According to the lead researcher of the study, Marina Vance, they were "surprised at the overall levels of particulate matter in the house".

"We know that inhaling particles, regardless of what they’re made of, is detrimental to health. Is it equally bad as inhaling exhaust from vehicle emissions? That we don’t know that yet," Vance told The Guardian.

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"This compares to a very polluted city, but what’s important to remember is that this was for a short period of time. When you live in a polluted city you’re in it for 24 hours a day.”

The Experiment

For the experiment, researchers cooked a series of meals in a three-bedroom test house that had been fitted with indoor and outdoor pollution monitors.

After cooking the meal, researchers found the PM2.5 levels in the house rose to a staggering 200 micrograms per cubic metre for one hour alone -- that was more than the 143 micrograms per cubic metre averaged in Delhi, which is the sixth most polluted city in the world

But roasts aren't the only thing which can cause disruption to the air indoors.

The scientists added that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from products such as shampoo, perfume and cleaning solutions eventually escape outside the house and, in turn,  contribute to an even greater source of global atmospheric air pollution than cars and trucks do.

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What Are PM2.5 Particles

The PM2.5 particles produced, are small enough to be breathed deep into the lungs, according to Environment Protection Authority Victoria.

The smaller particles can then spread from the lungs into the bloodstream where they build up in the liver, the heart and even in the brain.

According to the researchers, this build-up may even contribute to depression and other mental illnesses and has been recently tied to mental health issues, such as brain ageing and anxiety.

The particles can cause health effects and can be especially dangerous for children, people over the age of 65, pregnant women and people with existing heart or lung conditions (including asthma. Symptoms may include wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing.)

In the research conducted by the University of Colorado, the particles found in homes after roasting meat rose to levels 13 times higher than those measured in the air in central London.

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Feature Image: Getty