Cooking 'may turn homes into toxic boxes of air pollution'

(The Guardian, 15 May 2019) Fry-ups and woodburners can cause high levels of particle pollution, campaigners warn.

Frying food and burning wood may turn homes into “toxic boxes” with high levels of air pollution trapped inside, campaigners have warned.

Case studies commissioned by the environment charity Global Action Plan (GAP) showed that ultrafine particle pollution was higher inside than outside in all four of the properties monitored. Tiny particles are thought to be especially harmful to health as they can enter the bloodstream and flow around the body into vital organs.

The 24-hour tests took place in houses in London, Pontypridd, Liverpool and Lancaster. In the latter, the average of 40,000 particles per cubic metre inside the home was more than seven times the outdoor average. In London, the peak indoor pollution resulted from frying sausages and steaks.

An opinion poll for GAP also found that 55% of parents said their children spend more time indoors then they did when they were young, potentially exposing them to more air pollution. Only 11% of parents thought their offspring spent more time outside than they did at that age.

Research published in February found that cooking a Sunday roast on a gas hob can drive small particle pollution in homes far above the levels found in the most polluted cities on Earth for an hour or two.

In 2016, a report from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, led by Prof Stephen Holgate, highlighted the impact of indoor pollution, with sources including boilers, heaters and irritant chemicals from cleaning products.

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The Guardian, 15 May 2019: Cooking 'may turn homes into toxic boxes of air pollution'