Chinese scientists report that the smoke from cooking meat on an open fire is very detrimental to the human body. The researchers evaluated the risk of volatile carcinogenic compounds that occur during frying of meat on the coals, and found that a significant part of these substances enters the body through the skin, not through the respiratory tract, as was to be expected. The findings of scientists was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
The researchers note that the combustion of coal are formed of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These compounds are hazardous to health and can cause genetic mutations contributing to cancer of the lung, bladder and skin.
Scientists conducted an experiment and invited to participate in 20 men aged 22 to 25 years. For two and a half hours the participants in the experiment was grilling outdoors. Before the start of the study all the volunteers passed on the analysis of three samples of urine collected at intervals of several hours.
Participants were divided into three groups. Together, they cooked the meat on the fire, but only one group was allowed to eat it. Thus, scientists figured out how to affect the body of PAH from food. The second group was the fire without any protection from the smoke, and the people from the third group wore respirators with compressed air. Thus, the exposure suffered only their skin. After the experiment, the men again passed urine for analysis.
Scientists analyzed the amount of breakdown products of PAHs in the urine samples, and also examined air samples collected during the experiment. As expected, the greatest number of hazardous substances entered into the body with food. However, the researchers note that the effect of PAHs on the skin was even more dangerous than the lungs. Thus, even a short-term presence near the grill can contribute to the development of cancer.
To reduce the effect of harmful substances helps to wear long sleeves, but the researchers note that this protection is effective only for a short period of time. When matter is impregnated with smoke, the skin gets the more carcinogens. To reduce the health risk, scientists recommend to change clothes immediately after cooking.