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Passive Smoking and Deep Frying Linked to Cancer

deep frying cancer risk

Second-hand smoke, frying meats and burning candles are all linked – and they all contain a chemical known to promote cancer.


Cigarette smoke is obviously filled with many toxic chemicals that are associated with cancer. Even if you don’t personally inhale, your risk of developing lung cancer from second-hand smoke exposure is increased by 20-30%.

The National Cancer Institute notes that there are more than 7,000 chemicals identified in cigarette smoke, with at least 250 of them being generally harmful to human health. Of those, sixty-nine are known to cause cancer.

Most of these chemicals actually cause damage to tissue that the body cannot repair. One chemical in particular is known to affect the immune system’s ability to defend against tumor growth.

Acrolein (acrylic aldehyde) is known to be toxic, especially when inhaled. But researchers have recently discovered that it can inhibit the natural immune response which leads to accelerated tumor growth.

But cigarette smoke is not the only source of acrolein that you may be exposed to.

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Acrolein is also produced when fats (either vegetable or animal) are overheated, for example during deep frying. It is also released during the burning of wax – you have probably noticed the characteristic smell once a candle has been snuffed out.

Obviously, avoiding smoking yourself and avoiding second-hand smoke, especially in enclosed areas, is the most important thing you can do to prevent cancer and other hazards from the chemicals within cigarette smoke. But you can further reduce your risk by eating fewer fried foods. And if you burn candles at home, do so for a short period of time and make sure the room is well-ventilated.

Journal References:
Franziska Roth-Walter, Erika Jensen-Jarolim et al. Janus-faced Acrolein prevents allergy but accelerates tumor growth by promoting immunoregulatory Foxp3 cells: Mouse model for passive respiratory exposure. Scientific Reports, 2017; 7: 45067 DOI: 10.1038/srep45067

Stevens, Jan; Maier Claudia. Acrolein: Sources, metabolism, and biomolecular interactions relevant to human health and disease. Mol Nutr Food Res 2008 Jan: 52(1): 7-25

Additional Resource:
National Cancer Institute

Photo Credit:
By Emna Mizouni - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons



Interesting to learn about overheated fats. I got a bottle of this new frying oil from a Chef friend. It's refined high oleic sunflower oil and is 83% monounsaturated fat (that's the one doctors say is the good fat, same one as in olive oil). Apparently it is high temp, so less chance of overheating it Did any one else hear about this oil, it's called Sunvella Frypure? Try it? What do you think?