Green grilling for the Fourth - Tucson Local Media: El Sol

Green grilling for the Fourth

Propane or gas for fuel, and no lighter fluid, county says

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Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 11:00 pm

Millions of barbeques nationwide are being ignited this Fourth of July.

There's a green way to go about it, reducing toxic emissions, improving air quality and saving money, according to the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality.

"Summertime barbecues can be less polluting and better for your health by using propane or natural gas, charcoal chimneys instead of charcoal lighter fluid, non-toxic grill cleaners, and reusable plates, cutlery and napkins," the agency writes. "And by using these items, you will save greenbacks, too."

Greater Tucson "is very close to violating the new and more stringent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ground-level ozone standard," a release said.

"Elevated levels of ground-level ozone (as opposed to the protective ozone layer) can cause health problems in thousands of people in our community, including the elderly, people with lung and heart disease, active children, and adults who work or exercise outdoors," it continued.

Firing up the BBQ by using propane or natural gas instead of charcoal briquettes reduces air pollution. "If charcoal is your choice, eliminate the use of charcoal lighter fluid," which emits "volatile organic compounds through evaporation and as the fluid-soaked charcoal burns. These VOCs contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone when they mix with other air pollutants in the presence of sunlight."

Lighter fluid may leave a residue of toxic chemicals on grilled food, the release continued. "The best alternative to lighter fluid is a charcoal chimney, which works very effectively, lasts for years, and emits no VOCs into the air. In addition, charcoal chimneys eliminate the need for buying lighter fluid and storing a hazardous material like flammable lighter fluid at home."

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