Emission of carcinogenic components from commercial kitchens in Hong Kong

W. M. To, Y. K. Lau, L. L. Yeung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Cooking fumes from commercial kitchens have long caused concern for those who live near them. Foodstuffs such as meat, fat, sugar, starch or oil can produce carbonaceous particles when cooked quickly at high temperatures. Carbonaceous particles discharged to the atmosphere can have significant environmental and health impacts, through lowering visibility and the health impact of fine particles on human beings. In this paper, we report a territorial-wide survey on the quantification of cooking fumes discharged from commercial kitchens of Chinese restaurants, Western restaurants and exotic food servicing areas. Results show that cooking fumes contain a wide spectrum of organic compounds including n-alkanes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), fatty acids (FAs) and aromatic amines (AAs). It should be noted that commercial kitchens differ considerably in size, modes of operations, raw materials, cooking practices and air pollution control equipment. Our analytical results indicate that there is no statistically significant difference on the composition of their discharge in terms of carcinogenic elements such as PAHs, but at the 5% significance level, the mean concentrations of n-alkanes at the discharge points of exotic food servicing areas are higher than at the discharges of Chinese or Western restaurants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalIndoor and Built Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


  • Aromatic amines
  • Carcinogens
  • Commercial kitchens
  • Cooking fumes
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • n-alkanes


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