Ditch the BBQ! Cooking with wood or coal increases your risk of DEATH by 36%

While food cooked on the barbecue is delicious, it may have a darker side, according to a new study.

Researchers have found that burning wood or coal to cook food is linked to an increased risk of respiratory illnesses, and even death.

In the study, researchers from Oxford University found that the death rate was 36 per cent higher in homes using wood or coal to cook than those using electricity or gas.

To come to this finding, the researchers reviewed the health records of 280,000 adults aged 30-79 in China.

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Participants, who didn’t smoke, were followed for nine years.

During that time, 19,823 were either hospitalised or died from a major respiratory disease, including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Ka Hung Chan, who led the study, said: “While many previous studies have suggested a link between solid fuel use and COPD, most of them focused on changes in lung function, rather than hospital admissions or deaths.

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“In addition, we looked at the associations with other respiratory diseases about which little is known.”

Further analysis revealed that people who switched from using coal or wood to electricity or gas reduced their risk to only 14 per cent higher.

Dr Zhengming Chen, a senior author of the study, added: “Although we cannot infer a causal relationship from these observational findings, our findings make a compelling case to speed up the global implementation of universal access to affordable clean energy, one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

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