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Study: Air Pollution From Burger Joints Worse Than Trucks

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HESPERIA (CBSLA.com) — A UC Riverside study found that commercially cooked hamburgers cause more air pollution than diesel trucks.

The study, which focused on commercial charbroilers found in burger restaurants, said the equipment generates grease, smoke, water vapors and combustion products, which emit a large amount of particulate matter into the air.

“For comparison, an 18-wheeler diesel engine truck would have to drive 143 miles on the freeway to put out the same mass of particulates as a single charbroiled hamburger patty,” said Bill Welch, the principle engineer.

Researchers at UCR, who found few regulations for the restaurant emissions, said they’re developing a contraption to trap the particulates.

“Our goal is to find something cost-effective and technically feasible to reduce the smoke,” said Welch.

The study also said grilled burgers produce less particulates in the air than charbroiled ones.

Customers at a Hesperia burger joint said you can’t compare diesel emissions with hamburger smoke.

“Either way, we’re living in a world (where) we’re still going through pollution. But the difference is we are getting some type of benefit from (the burger),” said Maria Segura.

The UCR study is co-funded by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

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