Levoit Blog

Summer BBQs: When Air Quality Goes Up in Smoke

  • 1 min read

What’s summer without a BBQ by the pool, hot dogs sizzling on the grill, and friends gathered round? We invite our loved ones to share in the fun; however, there are a few guests that show up without an invitation.

What are PAHs and VOCs?

PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are naturally occurring chemicals found in coal, crude oil, and gasoline. They can be inhaled through fumes or absorbed through physical contact and can negatively impact your health.

VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are chemicals that evaporate at room temperature. They enter our air through substances such as smoke and gasoline. Just like PAHs, VOCs can also be absorbed through inhalation and physical contact.

So, the question is: which grilling method will help limit your PAH and VOC exposure? Let’s look at our options.

Charcoal Smoking Propane
Pros Can achieve higher temperatures and sear meats and veggies for smoky, crispy results. Cooks meat and veggies slowly with indirect heat, producing a distinctly smoky flavor. User-friendly for pro and amateur grillers alike and may expose you to fewer amounts of PAHs and VOCs than charcoal and smoking methods.
Cons May produce heavier amounts of fumes and smoke, increasing your exposure to PAHs and VOCs. The food will be exposed to smoke longer, which may increase your exposure to PAHs and VOCs through consumption.  May not provide the same smoky results as wood or charcoal grilling.

 

As you can see, charcoal and smoking methods may be more likely to send PAHs and VOCs into your air than propane grilling. The cumulative effects of multiple charcoal grills may also negatively impact the air quality of their respective neighborhoods.

 

Solutions

Air Frying: Get all the juicy flavors and crispiness, without the smoke. The COSORI TurboBlaze™ 6.0-Quart Air Fryer cooks enough food for 3–5 people and is incredibly easy to use. And if you’re stumped for ideas, don’t worry—this air fryer also comes with chef-created recipes.

Cold Dishes: If you want to skip the heat altogether, there are plenty of entrées and appetizers you don’t have to cook. Colorful pasta salads, charcuterie boards, chips and dip, fruit and veggie platters, and, of course, ice cream sundaes will please any crowd.

Air Purifier: Even if you forgo grilling or limit your smoke production, smoke from neighboring BBQs can still come your way. Running an air purifier in your home can help protect your indoor air quality and provide a comfortable environment in which you can relax. Our helpful sidekick is the Vital 200S, useful for those wishing to remove dust, smoke particles, fumes, and more from their atmosphere.

 

Sources

Barbecue Fumes: An Overlooked Source of Health Hazards in Outdoor Settings? - PubMed (nih.gov)

Toxicity of source-oriented ambient submicron particulate matter (ca.gov)

 

Important Note

The information provided here is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be used in medical emergencies or for diagnosing or treating any medical condition. It's crucial to consult a licensed medical professional for diagnosis and treatment. External links are for informational purposes and do not constitute endorsements. No warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, is made as to the products and/or the accuracy, reliability, timeliness, or correctness of the information provided herein.

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