Barbecue Smoke Dangers

by Lisa

Please can you tell me are there any articles written about barbecue smoke dangers?

I am concerned about a BBQ restaurant opening right near me - I have read some scary stories about them becoming nuisances b/c of smoke and odor. I have also found some research that states that barbecue smoke is a lung irritant.

Are there any websites that document the down sides of BBQ for health, air quality and odor nuisances? I am not against the restaurant as long as it doesn't cause excessive odor and smoke.


I've taken some time to research any articles written about barbecue smoke dangers and the results need to be separated out into 2 distinct sections:

1. Fumes from the cooking of meat
2. The effects of wood smoke

The Fumes From Cooking Meat

When meat is grilled, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's) are released and these are the same PAH's that can be found in cigarette smoke (thought to be one of the carcinogens).

One study has been done to demonstrate that the fumes from cooking meat have a detrimental effect on the birth-weight of babies. (Jedrichowski W, Perera FP, Tang D; Impact of barbecued meat consumed in pregnancy on birth outcomes accounting for personal prenatal exposure to airborn polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: birth cohort study in Poland. Nutrition 2012; 28(4):372-7) So one can conclude that the fumes derived from cooking meat aren't great.

But let's remember that none of this applies solely to the fumes from barbecue restaurants. In fact a study was done by a group of scientists that concluded that out of three types of restaurant (Chinese, Barbecue and American) the the PAH count was highest in the fumes of the Chinese restaurant and in sufficiently high enough levels to be capable of damaging the DNA in lung cells. (Chen JW, Wang SL, Hsieh DP, Yang HH, Lee HL. Carcinogenic potencies of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons for back door neighbors of restaurants with cooking emissions. Sci Total Environ. 2012;417-418:68-75)

It's up to you to make up your own mind but what this says to me is that fumes from cooking meat are harmful so it's best not to live immediately next door to any restaurant no matter what style of food is cooked (except a vegetarian restaurant of course).

The Effects Of Wood Smoke

To summarize my findings, wood smoke is the second largest cause of airborne pollution in the USA after the automobile. Approximately 10% of airborne pollution is caused by wood smoke and the single biggest factor blamed is the wood burning stove that many of us have in our house.

Wood smoke contains poisonous gases and airborne particulates so small that they can penetrate windows and doors.

Whether wood or charcoal (derived from wood), barbecue smoke must therefore be considered a lung irritant just like any other smoke but only if inhaled in significant quantities like if you were smoking a cigarette.

By the same logic, wood smoke can be identified as a cause of asthma & cancer as well as aggravating many other lung conditions.

When using my barbecue I take every precaution to ensure that I'm not inhaling any smoke albeit this is on a small scale.

Whether the barbecue restaurant that has opened in your neighborhood is going to cause pollution? Inevitably I would suggest that the answer has to be yes.

Whether the level of barbecue smoke dangers presented by this restaurant is anything to worry about (versus the wood stove that you or your direct neighbor might have) is open to debate.

There will be so many factors to consider including the amount of wood burned, the size and height of the chimney, the strength and speed of the prevailing wind etc.

If you like more detail on the effects of wood smoke then please read this article.

See Also:-
Barbecue Restaurant Franchise

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May 16, 2016
Charcoal smoke
by: Anonymous

I am 90 yrs. old in an apartment on the 2nd floor with below me somebody using a charcoal grill with smoke rising in my windows. My sister died of lung cancer.. Do I have a legitimate claim to stop this'?

Aug 26, 2011
Real Dangers from Barbeque Smoke
by: Anonymous

We just had a BBQ place open down the street, and guess what, me and other neighbors now have lung infections, pnuemonia and other issues with other organs in our bodies.

It affects everyone in different ways.

In particular, small children, teenagers, older individuals contract lung issues and OTHER conditions from the meat, oil, grease, fat that is being pumped into the air.

You can't see it once it leaves a small radius of the smoker, but in fact the air carries it 3-5 miles further.

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