Scand J Work Environ Health 1999;25(4):309-316    pdf | Issue date: Aug 1999

Risk of developing lung cancer in relation to exposure to fumes from Chinese-style cooking

by Zhong L, Goldberg MS, Parent M-É, Hanley JA

In an evaluation of the association between exposure to indoor air pollution from Chinese-style cooking and the risk of lung cancer, epidemiologic and experimental studies were reviewed. The 9 case-referent studies that were identified showed consistent positive associations between the risk of lung cancer and a variety of indices of exposure to indoor air pollution arising from Chinese-style cooking. Three experimental studies showed that volatile emissions from oils heated in woks are mutagenic in several in vitro short-term test systems. Several toxic agents, including some accepted or suspected carcinogens, have been detected in the emissions of the heated cooking oils. While experimental data support the epidemiologic data, it may be premature to conclude that the association is causal. However, simple precautions can be taken to reduce the risk in the event that exposure to indoor air pollution arising from Chinese-style cooking is indeed a cause of lung cancer.