Are Roast Dinners Polluting our Kitchens?

Us Brits aren’t famed for our cuisine like other nations, but there’s something about a Sunday roast which can inspire a degree of patriotism in even the most stubborn of sceptics. It’s truly something greater than the sum of its parts.

Perhaps it’s not just the meal, though. Maybe, it’s about getting all of the family together in the kitchen and bonding over some great food. In this sense, it’s not just a meal, it’s a ritual. That’s why we love it so much.

Unfortunately, this particular ritual might not be very good for us: a study has revealed that cooking a roast dinner drives indoor air pollution up to levels akin to the world’s most polluted urban environments.

Are Roast Dinners Polluting our Kitchens?

The study

Carried out by the University of Colorado, the study demonstrated that roasting meats and vegetables, and using a gas hob, released clouds of fine particles into the surrounding atmosphere. These fine particles, known as PM2.5 particulates, caused the pollution levels in the kitchen to soar 13 times higher than those measured in the air in central London. Caused variously by gas flames, oil, fat and vegetables, the pollution levels remained constant for around an hour, before tapering off.

Ian Colbeck, an expert in air pollution at the University of Essex, said that he had measured dangerous particulates in his kitchen for the past 10 Christmases. “PM levels are much higher than in cities in the UK,” said Colbeck. “A roast is one of the worst ways of cooking as regards indoor air pollution.”

So, just what are these particulates that make roasting such a dangerous cooking method? Well, PM2.5s are particles that are smaller than 2.5 micrometres across, meaning they’re small enough to be inhaled deep into the lungs, aggravating respiratory disorders and promoting cardiovascular disease. From the lungs, these particulates can spread into the bloodstream and reach the liver, heart, even the brain, meaning PM2.5s could even have an effect on mental health.

Marina Vance, who led the study, had the following to say: “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 yet.”

What can we do to combat this problem?

Obviously, we could sidestep the problem by avoiding roasting entirely, but this just isn’t realistic (read: roast dinners are just too good). In light of this, mitigation is our best course of action:

  • Be sure to open your windows when you cook, and leave them open for a while after
  • Always use an extractor fan when you cook, this should help remove some of the invisible pollution

The dangers of a faulty oven

Ovens are the most frequently used appliance in the home, meaning they’re particularly susceptible to faults and issues. For example, where gas ovens are at risk of producing carbon monoxide emissions, faulty electric ovens have the potential to cause electric fires. While the dangers associated with faulty ovens aren’t necessarily linked to those concerning roasting, ensuring that your oven is running optimally will go a long way to creating a safer kitchen for you and your family.

Domex provide dedicated oven repairs and maintenance, so whether your gas oven seems to be leaking, or you can’t get it working at all, we’re on hand to help. Simply contact our team today to book an appointment and we’ll be happy to set up a time slot with one of our engineers to suit you – we even provide our services for business and hospitality companies.