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Researchers Say Burning Toast Could Be As Harmful As Traffic Fumes

Claire Reid

| Last updated 

Researchers Say Burning Toast Could Be As Harmful As Traffic Fumes

Featured Image Credit: PA

There's bad news for anyone who enjoys their toast cremated, because a US study suggests that burnt toast can expose people to more pollution than being stood near a busy road. Not ideal.

Researchers at the University of Texas in Austin have said burnt toast can be particularly harmful and that even just using the toaster at all can send a flurry of 'toxic particles' into the air.

Using a mocked-up three-bedroom house fitted with monitors to check air quality, the scientists also found that frying and roasting food can also have an impact, The Times reports.

Marina Vance, one of the researchers, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science: "When you make toast, the heating element starts warming up the debris and gunk in the toaster which includes oils."

The best way to try and keep potentially harmful pollutants at bay is to make sure toast is a 'golden brown' colour, rather than burnt to crisp, which is good news for your tastebuds, too.

According to recommendations from the World Health Organisation, air shouldn't have more than 25 micrograms of fine particles per cubic metre, but the researchers found that burning toast can fling as many as 3,000 micrograms of particles into the air.

If you have your toast 'golden brown', this drops to 300 micrograms of particles per cubic metre, according to the study.

Vance went on to say: "Add to that the bread itself - it's going to emit a range of things.

"We found ethanol, a by-product of yeast.

"If there's tiny pieces of bread touching the heating element you can see the smoke, maybe from crumbs at the bottom of the toaster - they will all make a lot of particles.

"It led to what would be considered 'very unhealthy' air pollution levels if compared to outdoor air quality standards."

Professor Jonathan Grigg, who chairs a committee which is looking into indoor air pollution in the UK, told The Times: "This research could be a wake-up call to the risks posed by toasting and toasters."

The team also found that other common household items, such as scented candles, can also release pollutants into the air.

Enjoy your breakfast.

Topics: Food, News, Interesting

Claire Reid
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