Characteristics and health impacts of VOCs and carbonyls associated with residential cooking activities in Hong Kong

Yu Huang, Steven Sai Hang Ho, Kin Fai Ho, Shuncheng Lee, Jian Zhen Yu, Peter K.K. Louie

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

200 Citations (Scopus)


Cooking emission samples collected in two residential kitchens were compared where towngas (denoted as dwelling A) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) (denoted as dwelling B) were used as cooking fuels. A total of 50 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were quantified during the 90. min cooking periods. None of any carcinogenic compounds like formaldehyde, acetaldehyde or benzene are detected in the raw fuels, confirming that those are almost entirely derived due to cooking activity alone. Alkenes accounted for approximately 53% of the total measured VOCs collected at dwelling A, while alkanes contributed approximately 95% of the VOCs at dwelling B during the cooking periods. The concentration of aromatic hydrocarbons such as benzene and toluene also increased during the cooking periods. The total amount of carbonyls emitted from the cooking processes at dwelling A (2708μg) is three times higher than that at dwelling B (793μg). Acetaldehyde was the most abundant carbonyl at the dwelling A but its emission was insignificant at the dwelling B. Carcinogenic risks on chronic exposure to formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and benzene for housewives and domestic helpers were evaluated. Formaldehyde accounts for 68% and close to 100% of lifetime cancer risks at dwelling A and B, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-351
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2011


  • Carbonyl compounds
  • Cooking emissions
  • Risk assessment
  • Volatile organic compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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