Risk assessment of exposure to indoor aerosols associated with Chinese cooking

Environ Res. 2006 Oct;102(2):197-204. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2005.12.013. Epub 2006 Feb 2.


Cooking is an important source of indoor aerosols in residential homes and buildings with non-smokers, and thus has public health implications. However, limited information is currently available in the published literature on the physical and chemical characteristics of aerosols produced by gas cooking. Consequently, a comprehensive study was carried out to investigate the physical (number and mass concentrations and size distributions) and chemical (metals) properties in a typical Chinese food stall in Singapore where stir-frying in a wok is the most common cooking method using gas stove. To assess the contribution of cooking activities to indoor particle concentrations, aerosol measurements were performed in two distinct time periods, i.e., during cooking and non-cooking hours. The average mass concentrations of fine particles (PM(2.5)) and metals increased by a factor of 12 and 11, respectively, from 26.7 and 1.5microgm(-3) during non-cooking hours to 312.4 and 15.6microgm(-3) during cooking hours. The average number concentration was also elevated by a factor of 85, from 9.1x10(3)cm(-3) during non-cooking hours to 7.7x10(5)cm(-3) during cooking hours. Real-time particle measurements showed that about 80% of the particles associated with cooking are ultrafine particles in terms of particle counts. To evaluate the potential health threat due to inhalation of air pollutants released from gas cooking, the health risk estimates based on exposure and dose-response assessments of metals were calculated for a maximally exposed individual. The findings indicate that the indoor air quality existing at the food stall may pose adverse health effects over long-term exposure to cooking emissions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols / analysis
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / standards
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis
  • Cooking*
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / analysis*
  • Inhalation Exposure / standards
  • Metals / analysis*
  • Metals / standards
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Occupational Exposure / standards
  • Particle Size
  • Risk Assessment
  • Singapore


  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Metals