TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Planning on barbecuing on the 4th of July? The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality is asking that you use a charcoal chimney instead of lighter fluid to light those coals.
According to PCDEQ, charcoal lighter fluid helps contribute to air pollution, is a safety hazard when stored inside and can actually leave a residual taste on grilled food.
PCDEQ recommends using a charcoal chimney and crumpled paper instead, as it is safer for the environment and the public. Once the paper is lit the coals should be ready for grilling in about 17 minutes.
A charcoal chimney, for those who may not know, is a metal cylinder that is about seven inches across with a handle and a grate in the bottom that holds the charcoal. According to PCDEQ a charcoal chimney can be bought at the local hardware store for around $15 and should last for many years.
Not a charcoal griller, those who use propane, natural gas or solar energy are already taking the extra step to help reduce air pollution.
According to PCDEQ, in 2015, the U.S. EPA revised the ground-level ozone health standard to make it more protective of public health. The Tucson area violated the ozone health standard during the summer of 2018. When ozone measures above the federal standard, it can cause health problems for some people. Elevated levels of ground-level 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. Individual actions, such as eliminating the use of charcoal lighter fluid and decreasing the number of miles we drive will help reduce the emissions that form ground-level ozone.
Other ways this 4th of July to help keep the air and environment clean are:
Cleaning the BBQ grill- Eliminate toxic aerosol fumes from oven cleaners by making an inexpensive paste of baking soda and water and using a brush to clean the grill. It costs pennies and is completely non-toxic.
Shopping for the freshest and tastiest ingredients- Try the farmers markets. Buying locally-produced foods that were often growing the day before, reduces transportation-related air pollution and supports local farms.