Occupational Asthma Reference

Wong TW, Wong AHS, Lee FSC, Qiu H, Respiratory health and lung function in Chinese restaurant kitchen workers, Occup Environ Med, 2011;68:746-752,

Keywords: NO2, nitrogen dioxide, gas cooking, air measurement, FEV1, cook, chinese restaurant, electric cooking, epidemiology, cross-section, Hong Kong, China

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Abstract

Objectives
To measure air pollutant concentrations in Chinese restaurant kitchens using different stove types and assess their influence on workers' respiratory health.

Methods
393 kitchen workers from 53 Chinese restaurants were surveyed over 16 months: 115 workers from 21 restaurants using only electric stoves and 278 workers from 32 restaurants using only gas stoves. Workers were interviewed about their respiratory symptoms and had their lung function tested. Concentrations of nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) were measured using portable monitors and air-bag sampling. Temperature and noise levels were assessed.

Results
Median concentrations of NO, NO2 and CO were 7.4, 1.5 and 1.6 times higher in gas-fuelled kitchens than in electric ones and average concentrations of PM2.5 and TVOC were 81% and 78% higher, respectively. Differences were smaller for CH4 and NMHC. Electricity-run kitchens were 4.5°C cooler and 9 dBA less noisy than gas-fuelled ones. Workers using electric cookers had significantly better lung function than their gas-using counterparts and their mean FEV1 and FVC values were 5.4% and 3.8% higher, respectively, after adjustment for confounders. Wheeze, phlegm, cough and sore throat were more prevalent in workers using gas. The adjusted OR for having phlegm regularly was significantly higher.

Conclusions
The poorer lung function and higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms among workers in gas-fuelled kitchens compared to those in electricity-powered kitchens may be associated with exposure to higher concentrations of toxic air pollutants generated during gas cooking.

Plain text: Objectives To measure air pollutant concentrations in Chinese restaurant kitchens using different stove types and assess their influence on workers' respiratory health. Methods 393 kitchen workers from 53 Chinese restaurants were surveyed over 16 months: 115 workers from 21 restaurants using only electric stoves and 278 workers from 32 restaurants using only gas stoves. Workers were interviewed about their respiratory symptoms and had their lung function tested. Concentrations of nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) were measured using portable monitors and air-bag sampling. Temperature and noise levels were assessed. Results Median concentrations of NO, NO2 and CO were 7.4, 1.5 and 1.6 times higher in gas-fuelled kitchens than in electric ones and average concentrations of PM2.5 and TVOC were 81% and 78% higher, respectively. Differences were smaller for CH4 and NMHC. Electricity-run kitchens were 4.5oC cooler and 9 dBA less noisy than gas-fuelled ones. Workers using electric cookers had significantly better lung function than their gas-using counterparts and their mean FEV1 and FVC values were 5.4% and 3.8% higher, respectively, after adjustment for confounders. Wheeze, phlegm, cough and sore throat were more prevalent in workers using gas. The adjusted OR for having phlegm regularly was significantly higher. Conclusions The poorer lung function and higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms among workers in gas-fuelled kitchens compared to those in electricity-powered kitchens may be associated with exposure to higher concentrations of toxic air pollutants generated during gas cooking.

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Comments

This paper is sometimes interpreted as showing incresased problems with chineneese cooking. The emphasis of the paper is on increased problems with gas rather than electic cooking
1/10/2021

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