RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CBS Las Vegas) — Better think twice about throwing some hamburgers on the grill.
According to new research, grilling is the second largest source of air pollution in the South Coast Air Basin.
The ground-breaking study found that businesses making use of commercial grills are creating excessive amounts of what’s called particulate matter, a press release issued by the University of California, Riverside stated.
“Emissions from commercial charbroilers are a very significant uncontrolled source of particulate matter … more than twice the contribution by all of the heavy-duty diesel trucks,” Bill Welch, principal development engineer for the study at UC Riverside’s Center for Environmental Research and Technology, was quoted as saying.
He added, “For comparison, an 18-wheeler diesel-engine truck would have to drive 143 miles on the freeway to put out the same mass of particles as a single charbroiled hamburger patty.”
The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines particulate matter as “a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets … made up of a number of components, including acids … organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles” on its official website.
The substance is also named as a direct contributor to major health problems by the EPA.
Researchers at UC Riverside reportedly also learned that, despite the amount of smoke, water vapor, heat, grease and combustion products released by commercial grills during cooking, there are still very few regulations in place for the businesses using them.
Those involved in the study planned to experiment with possible solutions, including a device that would remove grease from the exhaust emitted by commercial grills and siphon it into water.
The burgers cooked during the experiment will allegedly be donated to a local food bank.
The study was funded by both the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, the release stated.