Roasting Sunday lunch creates 'toxic levels' of pollution in the home
Families should boil rather than roast their Sunday lunch to avoid indoor pollution levels worse than the most toxic cities on Earth, scientists have said.
Research shows that preparing the traditional meal with the windows shut gives pollution readings up to 13 times worse than in central London on a congested day. The world's largest gathering of scientists heard last night that pollutants from roasting include PM2.5 particulates, which are especially harmful because they are small enough to embed deep into the lungs and, in some cases, even enter the bloodstream.
Experiments during Thanksgiving in the US found that cooking a full roast turkey dinner pushed readings to peak levels of 200 micrograms per cubic metre (m/cm).
The World Health Organisation safety limit for PM2.5 particulates is 10m/cm, although central London averages 15.2.
The research team said roasting vegetables was particularly bad for indoor pollution levels because cooks often aimed for a charring or blackening effect.
They singled out Brussels sprouts as especially harmful because of how quickly the vegetables blackened.
While boiling meat and vegetables would still emit PM2.5, doing so was healthier than roasting for the internal atmosphere of a house, scientists said. The research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. (© Daily Telegraph, London)