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Does adding Sriracha to Saute create carbon monoxide?

Every time I'm sauteing and add a chili-based sauce such as Sriracha, it immediately makes me cough and irritates eyes and throat. Now, this doesn't bother me so much, but anyone who enters the room and the near vicinity coughs like crazy.

Now I've had people get extremely upset saying that I'm poisoning myself and that I'm releasing carbon monoxide etc etc.. The thing is, this happens every time I add this sauce, regardless of temperature.

Does anyone know if what is being released is carbon monoxide, or other toxic gas?

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  1. No it is not carbon monoxide. What is happening is that as you saute the pepper is being released and if you are sensitive to it, it effects you. The same thing would happen if you started sauteing Thai chili paste.

    1 Reply
    1. Capsaicin (the chemical that makes chiles spicy) is a volatile compound and is fat soluble, so when you add it to hot oil, some of it is being released into the air. Capsaicin is extremely irritating to our mucous membranes, including those in our eyes, throat and lungs.

      You are not poisoning yourself and you are not releasing carbon monoxide.

      1 Reply
      1. Carbon Monoxide is odorless and tasteless. What you're doing is pepper spraying everyone and yourself in the vicinity of the stove.

        Look at it as training for the next Occupy Protest. :-)

        1. Is this a serious question or are you poking fun at us cooking/food nerds?

          In case this is a serious question:
          Carbon monoxide is odorless and it isn't an irritant (something that would make you cough). This is why we need carbon monoxide detectors in our homes.

          3 Replies
          1. re: pagesinthesun

            Lol, as silly as it may sound, it was serious. I've had numerous people get upset at me addressing health concerns. Thanks for the clarification, I feel like i should've known this lol.

            1. re: PushKickCandy

              Just FYI, carbon monoxide doesn't cause coughing so much as chronic anemia with headaches and fatigue.

              1. re: PushKickCandy

                Now you are armed with good information to stick up for yourself and your love of Sriracha! Cook on ;-)

            2. Once made up a big batch of spice/herb rub... a take off on Emeril's BAM that I found somewhere on line. Had dried a bunch of jalapenos, mostly so they wouldn't just go bad in fridge. Decided to ZIZZ them up in food processor so I could measure and sub for cayenne in recipe. They were pretty crispy from drying and ground up nicely. BUT when I lifted lid, a mushroom cloud poofed up. Was VERY lucky I didn't get any in my eyes, by MAN did I ever COUGH. The next time I tried that, draped slightly damp paper towels over to and let machine sit for a good 5 minutes before SLOWLY & CAREFULLY removing lid.

              1. No, but if you are using Natural Gas your burner does.

                7 Replies
                    1. re: monavano

                      The burning of fuel produces carbon monoxide. If your burner is set properly and burning fuel most efficiently it's very little but it's still emitting carbon monoxide which you can't smell.

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        Thanks. When I think about ventilation, I think about smoke and grease, but not so much carbon monoxide.
                        Good reminder.

                          1. re: chefj

                            Great article and comments. I feel a bit more secure having an externally ventilated hood...
                            Our first (and fired) kitchen designer was so insistent that I move my cooktop and get downdraft, when I already had an ex. vented hood all set up.
                            I'm glad I stuck to my guns for many reasons.