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E. Reducing Carcinogens at the Barbecue Grill

Narrator: It's barbecue season, so now's a good time to think about healthy cooking. This is Science Today. Researchers have long been studying carcinogenic chemicals called heterocyclic amines, which result from over-cooking beef, pork, poultry and fish at high temperatures. In fact, scientists have identified 17 different heterocyclic amines that may pose a human cancer risk. Mark Knize, a biomedical scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, has been studying these chemicals.

Knize: In fact, one of them that we isolated and identified here at the Lawrence Livermore Lab actually causes breast cancer in female rats and colon cancer and prostate cancer in male rats and those are just the kinds of cancers that people on a Western sort of a diet, which is high in meat, high in fat - those are the kinds of cancer they get.

Narrator: Knize and his group discovered that altering your cooking preparation may dramatically reduce production of heterocyclic amines.

Knize: There are several things you can do - flip the meat every minute, or microwave first for one and a half minutes or two minutes and then cook it. Or you can marinate. All these things affect the amount of the hertocyclic amines and it seems a good idea to reduce your exposure.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.