BBQ smoke dangers

Dangers from BBQ smoke

BBQ smoke contains a high level of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known to cause DNA mutations, respiratory disease, and even lung cancer. When the meat is being grilled, fat droplets fall into the coal and create PAH, flying into the air. All people who are next to an active BBQ grill can breathe these toxins.

The BBQ meat is delicious, attractive and popular among diners. Outdoor BBQs at home or food streets, food markets are used all over the world. In many Asian countries like China, Vietnam, Korea, Japan … grilled restaurants which serves BBQ at the table with Korean or Japanese barbecue are very popular and highly developed. Currently, many residential areas such as high-rise apartment buildings have BBQ areas on the ground for residents.

Diners are ready to sit and eat the dishes grilled at the tables in BBQ restaurants, mostly grilled with charcoal or gas, few understand that they are sitting next to a device that emits toxic emissions for their own body and environment.

Inexpensive BBQs restaurants do not have fume treatment systems. Professional BBQ restaurants with BBQ at the table usually have a small smoke pipe at each table to remove BBQ smoke, then blow into the entire system to discharge, but it is difficult to remove all BBQ smoke and odor at the table, diners still inhale a lot of smoke from the grill and the smoke with odor still lingers on people’s clothes. However, when the restaurant has a system to exhaust grilled smoke from all tables to the outside environment, when outside, it still affects and harms the surrounding environment, neighbors, people in the higher floors, other flora and fauna, …

Many people understand that inhaling smoke from a BBQ is not good, and many of us also know that eating grilled meat can have negative consequences for our health. Both inhaling smoke and eating grilled meat from the BBQ are harmful to health. However, according to a new study, the absorption of PAH through the skin may be an equally serious but unnoticed problem.

By monitoring a group of people enjoying a barbecue, Chinese researchers discover that the carcinogens in barbecue smoke are more likely to enter our bodies through our skin than our lungs.

Researchers at Jinan University in China, led by Eddy Y. Zeng, set out to quantify exactly how much PAH passes through the skin of someone at a BBQ. The Authors concluded that consuming grilled food accounted for the majority of PAH absorbed by the body. Skin came second and inhalation came third.  They believe that oils produced during a BBQ might ease the passage of PAHs through the skin. (Source:

How to reduce the dangers from BBQ?

In order to protect the environment and human health, the restaurant industry needs to pay more attention to the methods to minimize harmful gases from kitchen fumes and from the BBQ smoke with reasonable cooking methods, and with eco protection equipment, green technology for treating smoke in the best way.

How much smoke flow emitted by a barbecue restaurant (with BBQs at the table) every working day?

Each BBQ at the table with a smoke pipe system usually has a smoke flow of 250 m3 per hour. The average daily activity of BBQs is about 5 hours. An average restaurant with about 20 tables (20 BBQ stores), estimate at 80% capacity of the table, will have a total smoke discharge from all BBQ stores of 20,000 m3 per day. (Research from BBQ restaurants in Vietnam)

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