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  • Summer BBQs Are Healthier Without the Lighter Fluid

    May 18, 2016 | Read More News
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    charcoal If charcoal is your choice of fuel, try barbecuing without lighter fluid this summer. Charcoal lighter fluid causes air pollution, is a safety hazard when stored around your home, and can leave a residual taste on your food.

    When combined with sunshine and other pollutants, the chemicals in lighter fluid create an air pollutant called ground-level ozone that causes health problems for many Pima County residents. 

    The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality recommends using a charcoal chimney and crumpled paper instead of lighter fluid (which costs about $4 a can) to light your barbecue. After you ignite the paper, the coals will be ready for grilling in about 15 minutes.

    What is a charcoal chimney? It’s a metal cylinder about seven inches across with a handle and a grate in the bottom that holds the charcoal. A charcoal chimney costs about $15 from your local hardware store and lasts for years. Grilling with propane, natural gas or solar energy are also great ways to reduce air pollution and enjoy BBQs without using lighter fluid. 

    The Tucson area is very close to exceeding the federal government’s health standard for ground-level ozone. When ozone measures above the federal EPA’s ground-level ozone standard, it can cause health problems for some people. Elevated levels of ozone can affect children, people who work or exercise outside, the elderly and people with lung or heart disease, including asthma and congestive heart failure. Check air pollution levels real-time on PDEQ’s website and sign up to receive air quality advisories. 

    PDEQ suggests other ways you can help the air and the environment during summer BBQs: 
    • Use plates, napkins, and utensils that can be washed and used again to reduce waste and help save natural resources. 
    • Make an inexpensive paste of baking soda and water and use a wire brush to clean the grill. It costs pennies and is completely non-toxic. Aerosol oven cleaners release toxic fumes and are expensive. 
    • Buy locally-produced foods to reduce transportation-related air pollution and support local farms. 
    These small changes can save you money, reduce waste and help keep the air healthy to breathe. 


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