Barbecue and kebabs are harmful to the body not less than cigarettes, say scientists

© RIA Novosti / Ilona Hartskeerl on the grillBarbecue and kebabs are harmful to the body not less than cigarettes, say scientists© RIA Novosti / Ilona Hartlepool to daily updates RIA Science

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Constant frying or cooking food over an open fire or on the coals increases the chance of developing pneumonia, asthma and other lung diseases by 40-60%, which makes them no less dangerous than cigarettes. To such conclusion the doctors, who published an article in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

«Our colleagues have repeatedly said that coal and firewood can contribute to the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. They are, however, focused on changes in their work and not on the deaths and other consequences of developing the disease. We filled this gap and tested whether a similar connection with other diseases,» said Ka hung Chan (Chan Ka Hung) from the University of Oxford (UK).

The smoke of open fires and wood and coal furnace contains a large number of carcinogens, carbon monoxide and other substances that negatively affect a person’s life. Even brief contact with fire, as shown by the observations of the firefighters, increases the concentration of carcinogens in the blood 2.5-5 times, which significantly increases the likelihood of developing cancer.

The majority of inhabitants of developed countries, as noted by Chan and his colleagues, faced with the charcoal and fires very rarely, only during trips to the barbeque, however, in developing countries the situation is quite different. Current estimates of the International energy Agency, almost 40% of households in China and some other developing countries continues to use firewood and coal for cooking and heating their homes.

Chan and his colleagues tried to assess the consequences of living in such conditions, watching the health of 277 thousand people in China aged 30 to 79 years. About half of them are periodically or permanently used charcoal and firewood for cooking, space heating or other domestic purposes. None of them smoked and suffered from lung disease at the time of the observations.

Over the next ten years, about 20 thousand of them died of cancer and severe lung diseases, or were in the hospital with similar diagnoses. This allowed the scientists to trace how the bonfires and coal-burning furnaces affect human health.

As it turned out, life in such conditions harm the health of Chinese people and Chinese women no less than regular cigarette consumption. On average, these people are 54% more likely to die of lung disease than their peers who used gas or electric stoves and Central heating system.

Worst of all on people’s health was affected by wood – on average, they increased the likelihood of developing lung disease by 37%, and coal by 22%. The lack of proper chimney raised the chances by 7%.

Most of all «kebabs» affects the chance to acquire tuberculosis, asthma and other chronic lung disease – they have increased by about 1.5-2 times. Grew a little less likely to get chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or acute infection of the lower respiratory tract.

All this, according to the authors, suggests that the authorities in China and other developing countries should make every effort to provide its population with centralized heating, electricity and gas in order to prevent the epidemic of lung diseases in the near future.