Pan-frying meat over gas stoves may expose chefs to harmful fumes: study

February 25, 2010

Pan-frying meat on a gas stove instead of an electric stove may put chefs and cooks at a higher risk for inhaling harmful particles, suggests a study from the Trondheim, Norway-based Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

According to a study abstract, researchers fried 17 pieces of steak for 15 minutes using margarine or two different brands of soya bean oil and then measured the amount of potentially harmful polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other particles in the fumes. Frying on a gas stove produced the highest levels regardless of the type of fat used, the abstract said.

Fumes produced from frying at high temperatures have been classified as "probably carcinogenic" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.

The levels in the study were below the accepted occupational safety threshold; however, researchers concluded gas cooking appears to increase exposure to other harmful components for which no safety levels have been established.