Grilling Can Potentially Produce Cancer Causing Compounds

The possible dangers of grilling your foodWith spring in full force and summer just around the corner, people are getting the outdoor grill all cleaned up for barbecue time. This is something that has been a staple for outdoor fun in the sun for generations. Whether you are just cooking up a small lunch for yourself or a full grill of burgers for the family, this savory way of preparing your food can have very dangerous side effects.

When grilling meats, the high temperatures required can potentially produce cancer causing compounds known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs. High levels of these dangerous fumes can be absorbed into the body just from smelling the wonderful aroma of the barbecue cooking. Even worse, a recent study has shown that PAH contact with the skin is more harmful than getting a whiff of the delicious smell. PAH’s have been shown to cause lung disease and mutations in people’s DNA. Although eating the charred food is the most common and easiest way to be exposed, just standing near a grill and breathing the PAH air can pose a serious health risk. Studies have shown that high PAH exposure showed up in urine tests in participants from eating, skin contact or breathing the fumes. Unfortunately clothes only help temporarily. After they are saturated with the PAH fumes they are useless. Researchers noted that once clothes became full of contaminated smoke, the skin absorbed all the toxins. Although there are dangers, people are not going to stop grilling out. The best advice is to be cautious, limit exposure and wash your clothes soon after you are done. With all the dangers in the world grilling doesn’t seem like it would be one of them, however common sense can go a long way. Enjoy the outdoor air, sun and barbecue, just be cautious when you do.

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