This breakfast food could be toxic

AUSSIES love toast for breakfast, whether that's with Vegemite, avocado, or peanut butter and jam. But overdoing it-even slightly-isn't great for your health.

According to The Sun, toast can expose people to more pollution than if they were standing at a busy road junction, a study has claimed.

Researchers in the US found the least harmful way to make toast was to turn the bread a light golden brown rather than burning it

A study at the University of Texas at Austin found burnt toast was especially harmful and the safest way was to "go for gold" - allowing the bread to turn a light gold colour.

Roasting and frying can also prove to be toxic, the research found.


Simple toast if burned can be very bad for you so don’t let it burn—go for gold. Picture: iStock image
Simple toast if burned can be very bad for you so don’t let it burn—go for gold. Picture: iStock image

But researcher Marina Vance said the biggest shock was discovering just what the impact of toasters was.

It was found they sent toxic particles into the air the moment they are switched on, The Times has reported.

Vance said at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of science: "When you make toast, the heating element starts warming up the debris and gunk in the toaster which includes oils."

Revealing the early results of the research the assistant professor added: "Add to that the bread itself - it's going to emit a range of things.

"We found ethanol, a by-product of yeast.

"If there's tiny pieces of bread touching the heating element you can see the smoke, maybe from crumbs at the bottom of the toaster - they will all make a lot of particles.

"It led to what would be considered 'very unhealthy' air pollution levels if compared to outdoor air quality standards."

Other pollutants included cleaning agents, especially household sprays, and air-purifiers which give off scents when plugged in to a socket.

And it's not just your toaster: Scented candles and wood-burning stoves were also found to be powerful polluters.

Other research recently published in the academic journal Atmosphere measured just how bad some of the pollutants were.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends air should contain no more than 25 micrograms of fine particulates, but when bread is toasted golden brown particle concentrations in the surrounding air surge to between 300 and 400 micrograms per cubic metre.

When toast was allowed to turn dark brown, particle levels soared to 3,000-4,000 micrograms per cubic metre, up to more than 150 times the WHO limit and about the same air quality as a busy traffic intersection.


This story first appeared in The Sun and is republished with permission.