Anyone looking to cut out air pollution in their town may have to look no further than their local burger joint. A new study out of the University of California, Riverside, has found that commercial charbroilers – like the ones used in the country’s fast food restaurants, are doing more harm to the air quality than an 18-wheeler.
Researchers claim that the charbroilers send a staggering quantity of particulate matter into the ecosystem, more than any truck or factory smokestack.
Bill Welch, principal development engineer for the study at UC Riverside’s Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-Cert) said in a statement: ‘Emissions from commercial charbroilers are a very significant uncontrolled source of particulate matter…more than twice the contribution by all of the heavy-duty diesel trucks.’
He added: ‘For comparison, an 18-wheeler diesel-engine truck would have to drive 143 miles on the freeway to put out the same mass of particles as a single charbroiled hamburger patty.’
Residents in a South Boston community believe those claims, and insist that they’re being smoked out of their own homes thanks to a new burger place in the neighborhood.
Marie Madden, who lives across the street from the new Tasty Burger restaurant, told the Boston Globe: ‘It’s just horrible. The smoke was just pouring out of the stack Saturday.’
At a community meeting on Monday, restaurant owner David DuBois pledged to set up a high-tech air-scrubbing system that will block the smoke, according to the Globe.
He told the paper: ‘It [the system] takes out the particulate and from what I understand it will take the odor out and most of the smoke, if not all of it.
‘At the end of the day I believe this solution will solve the problem in a big way.’