How Indoor Cooking Could be Putting You At Risk

Regular readers may recall I recently wrote a piece about the dangers from exposure to Carbon Monoxide read it here. Within the article I made reference to the risk of using a barbeque indoors as burning charcoal emits quantities of CO into an unventilated space.  I know of several incidents where campers have died as a consequence of using a barbeque inside a tent as it was raining outside.

How indoor cooking could be putting you at riskImagine my horror therefore when watching BBC 2 ‘Great British Menu’ cookery programme broadcast this week when 8 professional chefs compete to win a place at a banquet to celebrate Wimbledon Tennis Championships. For the main course, four of the chefs elected to cook the meat on a charcoal fired barbeque within the kitchen.

Frankly, this was a totally irresponsible practice to broadcast on mainstream TV and the BBC should know better!  Or do they?  There is still massive ignorance within the populace about dangers of CO poisoning and maybe the programme makers are no wiser.  How many viewers will see this practice as being OK to follow?

To be generous, it is possible the BBC Health & Safety experts ensured the gasses and cooking odours were vented into extractor hoods above camera height but this was not evident to viewers.  Anyway, even if this is so, cooker extraction hoods and associated ductwork are not designed for hot flue gasses.  They really need a proper chimney system.

There have been numerous Tandoori style / Pizza cooking establishments opening throughout the country for which there exist no Building Regulations nor British / European Standards relating to correct installation practice and the foreign manufacturer’s installation instruction are often inadequate. I have heard of many ovens vented via a commercial cooker hood type extraction system as I describe above presenting a fire risk. As important however is the risk to occupants when fans are switched off at the end of the day despite the fact that the charcoal continues to burn without showing any visual evidence of doing so.  At least one incident has been reported where someone sleeping in a room above the kitchen died after Carbon Monoxide seeped through the floorboards from below.

Read more articles by Technical Diarist Jim Lambeth Click Here.

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