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Norwalk Daily Voice serves Norwalk & Rowayton
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Norwalk Daily Voice serves Norwalk & Rowayton

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Ready, Set, Grill (but Healthfully)

Few things compare with the teasing aroma of a summer barbeque brimming with seared burgers, wafting through an afternoon breeze. Doesn't it make your mouth water just thinking about it? If so, you're not alone. More than one billion pounds of charcoal will be lit this barbeque season, which officially begins with Memorial Day weekend. That's a lot of burgers – and a lot of fumes.

But outdoor grilling can also produce paper waste and air pollution. Limit both by using charcoal chimneys , non-toxic grill cleaners and reusable plates, cutlery and napkins .

Eliminate charcoal lighter fluid, which emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) through evaporation, as well as while 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. Elevated levels of ground-level ozone (as opposed to the protective ozone layer) can cause health problems in people with lung and heart disease, active children and those who work or exercise outdoors.

Charcoal chimneys, which work effectively, last for years and emits no VOCs into the air. But take note when using charcoal: wet charcoal can spontaneously combust. A bag of wet or damp charcoal should be disposed of immediately. Spent charcoal can start a fire if there is still a live spark inside. Dispose of it in a metal container covered with a tight lid.

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