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  • Celebrate Healthier Air on the 4th of July

    Jun 30, 2020 | Read More News
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    If a charcoal BBQ is going to be part of your celebration of Independence Day, declare freedom from stinky charcoal lighter fluid that causes air pollution; is a safety hazard when stored around your home; and can leave a residual taste on your food.Charcoal Chimney

    Barbecuing without lighter fluid will help make the air healthier to breathe by reducing one of the ingredients essential for the creation of a summertime air pollutant. Being lighter fluid-free at your next barbecue, will save you money and improve the environment.

    If you don’t have a gas grill, the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) recommends using a charcoal chimney and crumpled paper instead of lighter fluid (which costs about $4 a can) to light your charcoal barbecues. After you ignite the paper, the coals will be ready for grilling in about 15 minutes. 

    What is a charcoal chimney? It is a metal cylinder about seven inches across with a handle and a grate in the bottom that holds the charcoal. A charcoal chimney costs about $15 from your local hardware store and lasts for many years. Grilling with propane, natural gas or solar energy are also great ways to reduce air pollution. 

    Air quality in the Tucson area violated the ozone health standard during the summer of 2018 and ozone has been elevated twice so far this summer. 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.

    PDEQ suggests other ways you can help the air and the environment: 
    • 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. 
    These small changes can save you money and help us all breathe easier.