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Healthier Smoke

March 22, 2018

A new filter keeps carcinogens out of smoked foods.



Healthier smoke.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Wood smoke contains carcinogenic, or cancer-causing, compounds, some of which can get into smoked foods. And while the levels are low and probably safe, University of Reading chemist Jane Parker and her colleagues developed a filtering system that used a material called zeolite to remove them from smoke altogether. But did they also scrub out the flavor? At a meeting of the American Chemical Society, she reported that the filtered smoke resulted in better tasting foods, actually reducing an acrid, burnt flavor normally found in smoked products.

JANE PARKER (University of Reading):

It’s a bit ash-tray-the-morning-after or a really harsh, burnt, acrid note and it’s that that we’ve managed to reduce in the smoke.


Zeolite filters are also being us ed to clean toxins out of smoke from other sources, including cars and motor scooters. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon