Carcinogens in the Smell of Frying Bacon

Carcinogens in the Smell of Frying Bacon
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Frying bacon outdoors decreases the concentration of airborne nitrosamine carcinogens.

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The level of nitrosamines in bacon is so high that these carcinogens have been discovered even in the vapors from fried bacon—you know the smell of frying bacon that everyone loves so much? Well, one of the more potent carcinogenic nitrosamines is in those fumes. You’re breathing it in.

In fact, if you’ve got to cook something like bacon and eggs, the barbeque people have the right idea—do it outdoors, in the fresh air. The amount of deposited particles deep into the lung of an individual indoors exceeded by up to ten times the amount received by an individual at the same time period outdoors.

Just don’t run around or play Frisbee or anything near the grill, as the number of deposited particles significantly increases with exercise, just because you’re inhaling greater lung volumes.

It’s kind of the secondhand smoke of the meat world.

What about tempeh bacon? Tempeh is probably the closest plant-based thing to cured meat; it’s a fermented soybean product. “Airborne Mutagens Produced by Frying Beef, Pork, and a Soy-based Food.” What do you think they found?

Airborne cooking by-products from frying burgers, bacon and tempeh, were collected, extracted, and tested for mutagenicity, the ability to damage and mutate DNA. The fumes generated by frying pork and beef were mutagenic, especially the bacon—found 15 times worse than the beef, but no mutagenicity was detected in fumes from frying tempeh burgers.

The researchers suggest that this may explain both the increased risk of respiratory tract cancer among cooks, as well as the lower proportion of deaths from respiratory diseases and lung cancer among vegetarians.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Renee Comet for the National Cancer Institute via Wikimedia commons and anemptygun / Flickr

The level of nitrosamines in bacon is so high that these carcinogens have been discovered even in the vapors from fried bacon—you know the smell of frying bacon that everyone loves so much? Well, one of the more potent carcinogenic nitrosamines is in those fumes. You’re breathing it in.

In fact, if you’ve got to cook something like bacon and eggs, the barbeque people have the right idea—do it outdoors, in the fresh air. The amount of deposited particles deep into the lung of an individual indoors exceeded by up to ten times the amount received by an individual at the same time period outdoors.

Just don’t run around or play Frisbee or anything near the grill, as the number of deposited particles significantly increases with exercise, just because you’re inhaling greater lung volumes.

It’s kind of the secondhand smoke of the meat world.

What about tempeh bacon? Tempeh is probably the closest plant-based thing to cured meat; it’s a fermented soybean product. “Airborne Mutagens Produced by Frying Beef, Pork, and a Soy-based Food.” What do you think they found?

Airborne cooking by-products from frying burgers, bacon and tempeh, were collected, extracted, and tested for mutagenicity, the ability to damage and mutate DNA. The fumes generated by frying pork and beef were mutagenic, especially the bacon—found 15 times worse than the beef, but no mutagenicity was detected in fumes from frying tempeh burgers.

The researchers suggest that this may explain both the increased risk of respiratory tract cancer among cooks, as well as the lower proportion of deaths from respiratory diseases and lung cancer among vegetarians.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Renee Comet for the National Cancer Institute via Wikimedia commons and anemptygun / Flickr

Doctor's Note

For more on the dangers of processed meats, see Prevention Is Better Than Cured MeatWhen Nitrites Go Bad; and Bacon and Botulism. For more comparisons between meat and veggie meats, see Chicken vs. Veggie ChickenWhat Is Really in Hot Dogs? and Carcinogens in Roasted Coffee.

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Using Greens to Improve Athletic PerformanceKiwi Fruit for Irritable Bowel SyndromeHead Shrinking from Grilling Meat; and Is Caffeinated Tea Really Dehydrating?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

 

17 responses to “Carcinogens in the Smell of Frying Bacon

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    1. I worked in a deli for 3 years and cooked 10 pounds of bacon daily..is my skin going to age likencrazy cuz of the nitrosamines and that it’s comparable to second hand smoke




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  1. Would you know what are the chemical substates responsible for the sometimes strong, foul odor of frying bacon or recently the sauteing of bratwurst?




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  2. I gave up bacon a long time ago – but I’d like to play devils advocate and ask about organic untreated bacon – because often people say to me that their bacon is fine because it’s organic, pastured and not preserved with nitrites.

    I am thinking that problems may arise from exotoxins from the bacteria, and contaminants in the fat – but:

    What are the main reasons you would avoid organic, untreated bacon?




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  3. If you can smell it, it’s being forced down your throat. Passive Porking is the logical extension of Passive Smoking, particularly when tenants insist of frying up burned cadaver bits in buildings that share apartment units. Those nasty little bacon bits are crawling along the electrical wiring and hiding in your little toddler’s teddy bear, ready to leap out and force their way into his or her innocent little body as soon as the toy is picked up and hugged.

    Remember, the Antismokers have taught us that “There Is No Safe Level” to airborne carcinogens, particularly those that that are seen as especially harmful by some subcultures and religions. If we can ban smoking in one’s apartment there’s no reason at all that we can’t ban frying or roasting corpses. Those who enjoy munching on dead bodies will still be free to do so: no one is stopping you from having bacon for breakfast or a hamburger for lunch! We’re merely seeking a reasonable compromise: you have to prepare your ghoulish feast by boiling the bacon or burger instead of frying it!

    Is that too much to ask? What’s the big deal?

    – MJM, PPPP (Premier Passive Porking Protagonist)




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  4. What are the carcinogens in bacon? Every one says there bad but I have yet to see a list of these carcinogens. Been eating bacon all my life, taste is out of this world. So please does any one really know or is this another attempt to get people to start thinking some thing else that authorities are manifesting?? remember politician’s lie regularly




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  5. For those who liked it long ago, or still like eggs and fry ups, there’s fake sausages and fake bacon!! Made from delicious non-meat products like soy, it doesn’t come under the WHO’s Class 1 carginogen-equal-to-tobacco attributes. Google fake bacon for brands. It’s tasty but I do find it gives me a little bit of indigestion. Enjoy!




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    1. ps. it could be considered a “transition food” if you feel vegan is the goal and some stepping stones would be helpful. I enjoy it from time to time!




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