Four ways to make your BBQ grill better for your health and the environment this summer

Washington Post reporter Michael J. Coren writes about how to choose the best way to grill for the climate.


In a nutshell:

Charcoal, a staple for backyard barbecues, is a murky industry with little transparency and potential environmental and health concerns. Charcoal production contributes to deforestation in tropical countries, and studies have found heavy metals in charcoal briquettes. While most charcoal brands in the United States are safe, consumers can make better choices by considering options such as using hardwood embers, supporting eco-friendly charcoal producers like Good Charcoal Co., or opting for propane or electric grills, or even solar cookers, for convenience and environmental benefits.

Key quote:

Jonathan Rosenberg, the general manager at Supperland in Charlotte, feeds more than 250 people a day from a 14-foot wood-fired grill. “We want really controlled heat sources,” he says “We don’t use briquettes, which have a lot of additives.”

The big picture:

Greenhouse gas emissions from grills and barbecues are minimal; since meat drives 57 percent of all food product emissions, what you grill is more important than how you cook it. However, studies have revealed that certain charcoal briquettes may contain heavy metals, which can pose risks when consumed through food cooked over them. In addition, the production of charcoal often leads to deforestation in tropical regions, exacerbating environmental concerns. While many charcoal brands in the United States are considered safe, it is essential to be aware of the potential health and environmental implications associated with the use of charcoal in barbecues.

Read more about your grilling options at the Washington Post.

Interested in learning more about how our food choices can help (or harm) the environment? Check out this article by Bill Schlesinger, providing ways to reduce the environmental impact of your morning coffee.

Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.
Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way
Coast Guard inspects Cameron LNG Facility in preparation for first LNG export in 2019. (Credit: Coast Guard News)

Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way

This 2-part series was co-produced by Environmental Health News and the journalism non-profit Economic Hardship Reporting Project. See part 1 here.Este ensayo también está disponible en español
Keep reading...Show less
vermont farmers flood risks
Credit: Nicholas Erwin/Flickr

Vermont farmers face uncertain future amid increased flood risks

Vermont farmers, reeling from last summer’s devastating floods, now face an uncertain future as persistent rains continue to threaten their livelihoods.

Sarah Mearhoff reports for VTDigger.

Keep reading...Show less

Hurricane Beryl leaves millions of Texans without power amid soaring heat

Millions of Texans face a third day without power as Hurricane Beryl's aftermath coincides with dangerously high temperatures.

Pooja Salhotra, Emily Foxhall, and Alejandra Martinez report for The Texas Tribune.

Keep reading...Show less

Tim Dunn, evangelical oil magnate, aims to boost Trump’s campaign

Billionaire Tim Dunn, a Texas oil mogul, is using his wealth to support Donald Trump's bid for the White House, reflecting his desire to influence national politics with his religious and conservative values.

Mike Soraghan reports for E&E News.

Keep reading...Show less

Citizen scientists map New Hampshire’s beaches

Citizen scientists have spent six years helping to track the changes in New Hampshire's coastline, providing crucial data on how different beaches respond to weather events.

Claire Sullivan reports for New Hampshire Bulletin.

Keep reading...Show less

Texas’ new appellate court raises concerns for environmentalists

Texas Governor Greg Abbott's recent creation of the 15th Court of Appeals, a body seen as favorable to business interests, has sparked fears among environmental advocates who believe it undermines regulatory oversight.

Jim Morris, Leah Clark and Manuela Silva report for Public Health Watch.

Keep reading...Show less
From our Newsroom
WATCH: Enduring the “endless” expansion of the nation’s petrochemical corridor

WATCH: Enduring the “endless” expansion of the nation’s petrochemical corridor

As mounds of dredged material from the Houston Ship Channel dot their neighborhoods, residents are left without answers as to what dangers could be lurking.

US Steel pollution

Nippon Steel shareholders demand environmental accountability in light of pending U.S. Steel acquisition

“It’s a little ironic that they’re coming to the U.S. and buying a company facing all the same problems they’re facing in Japan.”

Another chemical recycling plant closure offers ‘flashing red light’ to nascent industry

Another chemical recycling plant closure offers ‘flashing red light’ to nascent industry

Fulcrum BioFuels’ shuttered “sustainable aviation fuel” plant is the latest facility to run into technical and financial challenges.

nurses climate change

Op-ed: In a warming world, nurses heal people and the planet

Nurses have the experience, motivation and public support to make an important contribution in tackling the climate crises.

Stay informed: sign up for The Daily Climate newsletter
Top news on climate impacts, solutions, politics, drivers. Delivered to your inbox week days.