• Hamburgers produce more air pollution than trucks, scientists say

Air Monitoring

Hamburgers produce more air pollution than trucks, scientists say

Sep 21 2012

A new study has found that fast food restaurants are doing more harm to the air quality than an 18-wheel truck.

The research, carried out by University of California, Riverside, has found that commercial chargrills produce greater amounts of air pollution than trucks.

These chargrills are used every day in the US’ fast food restaurants - it is their flat metal grate cooking surface that imparts those infamous grill lines on their takeaway burgers.

Researchers claim that the amount of particulate matter that these cooking systems send into the ecosystem is far more than trucks and factory smokestacks – believing that they release more than twice the contribution.

The matter that the chargrills release cause harm and discomfort to humans and other living organisms, as well as causing damage to the natural and built environment.

Posted by Claire Manning

The research is found as part of a study by the university on commercial cooking emissions. Co-funded by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD), the project’s goal is to evaluate potential hazards and solutions by conducting emissions testing.

Equipment used in high street restaurants generates grease, smoke, heat, water vapour, and combustion products. However, the university has found that there are very few regulations for restaurant emissions in the US.

These claims are supported by residents in a South Boston community, who told the Boston Globe that the grill smoke from a local new restaurant is “choking” them. “My throat hurt, my eyes burned, I can’t live like this”, one resident told the newspaper.

A proposed control was tested two days ago by the university. The device was intended to remove grease from the exhaust and trap it in water. Researchers evaluated the air stream released by the commercial chargrills before and after they pass through the control device and measure how effective it is.


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