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Scientists Say You Should Stop Using Your Charcoal Grill Immediately

Scientists Say You Should Stop Using Your Charcoal Grill Immediately PolicyMic

Unfortunately, grilling with charcoal comes with a hefty environmental cost: heavy greenhouse gas emissions.

Charcoal nuggets, or briquettes, are essentially tightly packed bundles of carbon. When they're burned, they spew pounds of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Swiss researcher Eric Johnson compared the environmental impacts of cooking with gas and charcoal in a 2009 study. While cooking with charcoal emits up to 11 pounds of carbon dioxide per grill session into the environment, for example, grilling with propane emits just 5.6. To put that in perspective, one session of grilling with propane, he found, emitted enough carbon dioxide to drive a small car 8 miles. Cooking with charcoal, on the other hand, put out enough CO2 to drive the same car a whopping 22 miles.

Scientists Say You Should Stop Using Your Charcoal Grill Immediately PolicyMic


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Does it matter at the production stage if it's organic lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes?

I do not believe it matters. Charcoal is charcoal, and charcoal us bad. 

I know it seemed like a stupid question, but what if the charcoal is harvested from a forest fire rather than produced with added petroleum products as it is in briquettes?  

I guess it's best to view charcoal like sugar: its use should be limited to special occasions.

Geege, that's absolutely right. Special occasions is fine but more than that can be toxic.

Also, heating meat over fire is bad for us:

Thanks for sharing these healthful tips!  When grilling, choose veggies and fruit.

You got it!

Grilling meats is an American tradition, but it’s not the healthiest thing to do. A growing body of research suggests that cooking meats over a flame is linked to cancer. Combusting wood, gas, or charcoal emits chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Exposure to these so-called PAHs is known to cause skin, liver, stomach, and several other types of cancer in lab animals. Epidemiological studies link occupational exposure to PAHs to cancer in humans. When PAHs from a flame mingle with nitrogen, say from a slab of meat, they can form nitrated PAHs, or NPAHs. NPAHs are even more carcinogenic than PAHs in laboratory experiments. The reasonable conclusion is that grilling meat may be hazardous to your health.

The evidence linking cancer to cooking meat over a combustion source has been accumulating for decades. Epidemiologists first noticed a connection between the consumption of smoked foods and stomach cancer in the 1960s. Japan, Russia, and Eastern Europe, where smoking is a popular way to preserve meat and fish, became laboratories for gastric cancer research. Newer studies suggest that eating smoked meats may lead to cancer even outside the gastrointestinal tract. A 2012 study, for example, linked smoked meat consumption with breast cancer.

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And yet there is STILL no explanation of why the carbon mass in the atmosphere during the Mesozoic Epoch is predicted to have been 20 times the level it is today. Damned Dinosaurs and their barbeques.

Yeah, the Dinosaurs should have been more considerate.

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