Print and online articles in The Telegraph on our research published in Faraday Discussions on 9th December 2020.

Period9 Dec 2020

Media coverage


Media coverage

  • TitlePollution from fat lingers in your kitchen, warn scientists
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletTelegraph
    Media typePrint
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    DescriptionBy Olivia Rudgard ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT

    POLLUTION from frying food survives in your kitchen for several days, scien- tists warned, as they explained why fatty particles linger for longer.
    Researchers at the University of Bir- mingham said they had unlocked the mystery of why pollution from cooking with fat seemed to hang around in the air for days longer than other types.
    Indoor air pollution from cooking is increasingly being seen as a risk to peo- ple’s health. Gas hobs also release nitro- gen dioxide and carbon monoxide, with many people exposed indoors to levels of dirty air that would be illegal outside.
    Scientists recommend using an extractor fan or opening windows to reduce these levels, but the paper, pub- lished in the journal Faraday Discus- sions, suggests that this pollution is also an issue for the wider atmosphere.
    The team also said that policymakers should consider regulating pollution created by fast food restaurants, which
    is not currently taken into account. In the UK up to 10 per cent of air pollution is thought to come from this source, ris- ing to up to 39 per cent in Hong Kong and 22 per cent in some of China’s cities.
    Dr Christian Pfrang, the lead author, said this was a particular issue when cooking with fat at high temperatures, such as deep fat frying.
    The pollution is caused by unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid, emit- ted when cooking with fat, which interact with water in the atmosphere.
    This creates a crust preventing them from being broken down by ozone in the atmosphere, as normally happens with air pollution.
    They can also join up with other sub- stances including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are emitted by car exhausts and are carcinogenic, causing these to linger too. The process could also affect the weather by affecting the ability of water droplets to form clouds.
    Dr Pfrang said: “The implications of this should be taken into account in city planning.”
    Producer/AuthorOlivia Rudgard (The Telegraph's ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT)
    PersonsChristian Pfrang