WASHINGTON, July 2, 2015 – Backyard grillers beware: That barbecue you are planning for the Fourth of July may be hazardous to your health!
The hazard apparently is coming from the fumes created when the grease oozing out of your burgers and brats comes in contact with an open flame and is “volatized,” creating what the Environmental Protection Agency says are unhealthy “particulate matter emissions.”
But the EPA is already taking steps to deal with the threat. The agency has allotted $15,000 of taxpayer money to fund a student project at the University of California-Riverside, to reduce these emissions.
The project has two components, which together sound like the work of Rube Goldberg. The object of the first component – a slotted and corrugated tray inserted into your grill just before flipping your meat and removed just after -- is to remove most of the grease drippings from the possibility of unwanted flareups.
Since “100 percent prevention is not practical,” a secondary air filtration system is proposed. This would consist of “a single pipe duct system which contains a specialized metal filter, a metal fan blade, a drive shaft, and an accompanying power system with either a motorized or manual method.” The device is not yet available at your local Home Depot.
While the students behind the project and the EPA think this may be a good idea, with “potential for global application,” U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, decidedly does not.
“Ohioans (and presumably lots of other Americans) celebrating our nation’s independence this Fourth of July should be able to grill in peace,” Portman said in a press release. “The EPA doesn’t need to use taxpayer dollars to tell us how to safely grill a cheeseburger. I support a clean environment, and the EPA has more important things to do instead of meddling in American pastimes.”
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