Study: Roast dinner makes your kitchen air quality worse than Delhi’s

Photo: haoliang (E+/Getty Images)

If you’re pulling off a nice Sunday dinner at home, with a roast, potatoes, vegetables, you probably are pretty pleased with yourself—ahead of the game for the week, and ready to settle in for a nice relaxing family dinner. You probably haven’t given much thought to the damage that roast dinner may be doing to your air quality, but that’s what science is for. The Guardian reports that according to a new study, “Researchers found that roasting meat and vegetables, and using a gas hob, released a surge of fine particles that could make household air dirtier than that in Delhi,” the sixth-most air-polluted city in the world.

Researchers from CU Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and the university’s Department of Mechanical Engineering presented their findings during a panel discussion at a recent conference, examining the “previously underexplored relationship between households and air quality,” says the University Of Colorado Boulder. Researcher Marina Vance, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at CU Boulder, said the study set out to discover how basic activities like cooking and cleaning change the chemistry of a house.

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The results were surprising, and not in a good way. Says Vance, “Even the simple act of making toast raised particle levels far higher than expected.” Those tiny particles from cooking, “fine soot and tiny organic particles from gas flames, vegetables, oils and fat combined to send harmful PM2.5 particulates in the house to levels 13 times higher than those measured in the air in central London,” says The Guardian. Researchers subsequently stressed the importance of keeping your home well ventilated while cooking and cleaning, to help keep air pollutants and particulates out of the home. And maybe get a houseplant to filter that air, too. Can’t hurt.

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Gwen Ihnat

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.