Natural Science – Global Warming

While some would call global warming a theory, others would call it a proven set of facts. Opinions differ vehemently. Let us consider global warming to be both a premise that the environment of the world as we know it is slowly, but very surely increasing in overall air and water temperature, and a promise that if whatever is causing this trend is not interrupted or challenged life on earth will dynamically be affected.

The prevailing counter opinion is that all that is presently perceived to be global warming is simply the result of a normal climactic swing in the direction of increased temperature. Continue reading…

 

Health Science – Nasal Congestion

Does your nose feel stuffed up and congested?  The annoying feeling of nasal obstruction is related to the humidity and temperature of inhaled air. There are findings that suggest sensory feedback from nasal airflow which contributes to the sensation of congestion. Researchers can use this knowledge to design and test treatments that are more effective for this familiar symptom of nasal sinus disease.

Usually caused by infection or allergy, nasal sinus disease is one of the most common medical conditions in the United States, afflicting approximately 33 million people with over $5.8 billion in healthcare costs annually. Continue reading…

 

How Greenhouses Can Help You Grow Your Own Food

A greenhouse is a glass building in which plants that need protection from cold weather are grown. A greenhouse allows you to continue growing plants and vegetables even when the weather is cold and wet. What do you do if you wish to grow your own food but live in a tall building? This is where a greenhouse comes into play. It allows you to grow your own plants and vegetables indoors.

Greenhouse gardening is like outside gardening in many ways. The plants still require sufficient water, nutrients and protection from pests and diseases. You still have to take care of the plants – prune, tie or tend to them.

When you grow your own food, you are sure the food you put on your table is 100% organic, natural, healthy and safe. Perhaps it’s time to consider how greenhouses can help grow your own food. If you use a greenhouse to grow your own food, you will have more power to grow different kinds of vegetables and also be able to control aspects of the environment. Aside regulating the lighting, temperature and humidity, you will also be able to provide your crops a safe obstacle against pests and diseases. The following are other benefits of greenhouse.

Temperature Control

The way a greenhouse is designed, it allows light in, and then this light is absorbed by things within the greenhouse to produce heat energy and then is allowed to escape. The temperature inside the greenhouse is higher than the ambient temperature. But if it becomes too hot, open some of the vents or the door, depending on the design of the greenhouse and the temperature will reduce. Instability in temperature stresses plants and can lead to slow growth, so greenhouses control temperatures.

Continuous Harvest

Greenhouses are used for crop rotation, which leads to the production of fresh produce even after the usual seasons because of the controlled environment. A greenhouse will help sustain your seeds during the period that frost can affect it. If you still wish to take the plant to your garden, you can then transplant it later once the danger of frost has passed. Depending on the type of plant, you can just let it continue growing in your greenhouse. This way, you can have fresh produce all year round.

Pest Control

Greenhouses are properly covered such that pests and predators cannot easily gain access into it as they could if you were growing your crops in an open garden. Same thing applies to seeds as well as pollens from undesirable plants like weeds.

Portable

Portable greenhouses are available to buy and they can be the same size as an outdoor cabinet. They just look like a storage rack with a clear plastic jacked that zips on and off. This jacket acts like glass or hard plastic in a larger greenhouse.

They are especially good if you live in a tall building, or where you live experiences harsh weather for some months of the year. You can move your plants inside or outside, depending on the season.

 

Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment and tell me what you think!

 

5 Reasons Why We Need to Recycle Old Building Materials

We have all been guilty of lazily throwing away items that could be recycled or reused; whether it is an old mobile phone, an empty milk carton or a piece of furniture. While we all know we’re supposed to recycle our plastic bottles and donate our old clothing, many people are unaware that we can actually reuse old building materials.
Here are 5 reasons why we must start recycling old building materials that are unnecessarily filling up landfills.

1. Timber Waste
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 270,000 US homes are pulled down each year and replaced by new structures. Out of all of the building materials, 1 billion board feet of timber is sent off to landfill and dumps, and will rot and waste away amongst all the other rubbish we accumulate each and every day.
What’s even more shocking is that the timber could be reused on tens of thousands of homes, reducing the number of trees that are cut down each year, and helping companies cut building costs.

2. Material Usage
It’s not just timber that can be recycled. 75-95% of a building’s materials can be reused. Lumber can be grounded into wood chips, asphalt shingles can be combined with other products to create road patches, and cinder blocks can be grinded and reused as a base for driveways or roadways.

3. Construction Consumption
The construction industry is responsible for 90Mt of waste – and a massive 24Mt of it ends up in landfill sites. It is therefore essential that the industry effectively improves their carbon footprint, as they are significantly impacting on our planet. Whilst some materials are more recyclable than others, it is down to construction companies and councils to commit to reducing the amount of building waste that’s damaging the Earth.

4. Action is Already Being Taken
Many construction companies may complain that recycling and reusing building materials cannot be done; that they have to work to tight deadlines and don’t have time for improving their carbon footprint. However, thanks to Seattle’s council, action is already being taken in this city to reduce the amount of building materials going to waste.
All construction companies are required to submit a mandatory demolition application before they knock down a building, and this process can take several weeks to be approved. However, companies that are dedicated to recycling and reusing their materials will be pushed to the top of the pile. It is action like this that will ensure our landfills aren’t filled up with materials that could easily be used in other applications.

5. Simple Changes
As a nation, we are too quick to knock down or cover up traditional architecture. We want the latest modern look, even when the original design is just as beautiful, if not more so. A Titanic hotel, however, is the perfect example of restoring buildings to suit a design, without pulling them down. The hotel has restored building’s interior to complement the theme of the hotel, instead of simply scrapping the derelict building and starting all over again with fresh materials. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it – and if it is broke, recycle it into something that works.

 

The Science Behind The Claims of Detoxing

Many people detoxify themselves to combat the harmful effects of alcohol or drugs on the body, or just to strengthen their immune system. If you have been addicted to a given intoxicant for some time, you will begin to see signs of abnormal deterioration of the body. Detoxifying helps to flush out harmful toxins from your body and cleanses it. There are several ways in which one can detoxify himself, and the primary factors that determine what kind of method suits one best depends on the type of intoxicant being consumed, and the duration for its consumption.

What is Detoxification?

As the name suggests, detoxification means removing unwanted toxins from the body. Contrary to common perception that detoxing only focuses on getting good rest, following a detox diet and drinking a lot of water, it also involves clearing the mind. Addiction not only takes toll on the body but the mind too. The social taboo that’s associated with addiction, as well as the reason for addiction, interferes with one’s mind, leaving him with a sense of dissociation with his surroundings. Detox also helps one overcome these mental challenges.

How it Works

There are some organs and systems in the human body that naturally flushes out toxins but if they are overloaded, many toxins can accumulate in the body. Consequently, an individual will have a weak immune system thereby being prone to getting sick and contracting various kinds of infections. The natural detoxifying systems and organs in the body include:

  • The circulatory system
  • The urinary system
  • The respiratory system
  • The skin glands
  • The gastrointestinal system

When one decides to suddenly withdraw from consuming a certain addictive after using it for a long time, it may not go down well with the body. Therefore, a person undergoing a detox process may fall sick and experience symptoms of various illnesses such as vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache, high fever, nausea and headache. This occurs due to removal of toxins by the human body. This is particularly common among people undergoing liver detox since the liver typically holds loads of toxins. Liver detox makes the liver to release toxins into the bloodstream, causing various symptoms to appear. Basically, the healing process is not an easy one, particularly when the person involved is recovering from a given addiction. Apart from being a social taboo, addiction can physically ruin one’s life completely. In some cases, an extreme detox is the only way to prevent the condition from worsening.

Considering the kind of lives that most people lead today, we all need some form of detox. People are constantly subjecting their bodies to endless unnecessary troubles and stress, and not many people eat the right food and get plenty of rest. Consequently, their immune system is getting weak and their health is deteriorating. Apart from this, we all breathe in harmful pollutants everyday that would result in a disaster. Today, detoxification has become the most popular and effective way to cleanse the body systems. When it comes to detoxifying, it advisable to opt for natural methods.

 

Shave Less = Save More (Water, that is)

Ok people, summer’s here and the sun’s out! While this means beaches and picnics, swim suits and short shorts, it also means a lot of body hair maintenance. If you are one of the majority of women who shave their legs, there’s a good possibility your actions are leading to a LOT of unnecessary water consumption. Time to scale it back and look at the facts!

First of all, ladies, I am not saying ‘you’re wrong for shaving’. I think it is a totally ridiculous social pressure that’s been placed on us which is now just the cultural norm. Unfortunately, the average person who leaves the shower running while shaving their legs wastes over 4,000 litres of water a year! In the UK alone that adds up to over fifty billion litres of drinkable water “going down the drain”! Plus, the plastic used in disposable razors does not break down for hundreds of years! That’s insanity.

So, if you want to maintain smooth and silky skin this year, let’s try to be a little more environmentally conscious!

If you choose to continue using a razor, consider filling up the base of the tub, or your sink, with some warm water, instead of opting to let the shower run. This will save an incredible amount of water over the long run. Of course, there are other alternatives to shaving as well…

Waxing

Waxing has been around for eons, and is a well respected method of hair removal. The pros to waxing are that it is much less frequent (once every month or two, as opposed to 2-3 times a week when shaving), and does not use very much water.

The cons are that you need to either purchase a waxing kit, which requires strips, wax, applicators, a wax warmer, or you can do it through a salon, which can be a little pricey, but not too bad when you add the cost of razors up over time. Waxing can also be uncomfortable, however, the long lasting results are usually what keep people coming back.

But don’t strips and wax create a lot of waste, you might ask? Yes and no, most of the products used in waxing are biodegradable which will eventually compost back into the earth.

Laser

Laser hair removal is king. This is a (semi) permanent option which requires several sessions over a period of 6 to 8 months where a specialized light is beamed down into the follicle and stops the hair from continuing to grow. This means no more shaving, water waste, or physical waste. Bonus, it doesn’t even hurt per-se, just a slight discomfort.

Of course the downside is that laser can be costly, and sometimes requires follow up treatments every 4 to 6 months. If you are looking for something in between these options you might be looking for this…

Epilators

Epilators are a reasonably new form of hair removal which are gaining traction in the market lately. An epilator is the result of mixing tweezers with an electric shaver. In fact, some models even have an electric shaving attachment!

Most epilators are cordless, meaning the only waste is power consumption. No more running water, or wax strips. There are, however, some models which plug into the wall like this corded model.

To use an epilator, you simply turn it on, and run against the grain of your hair, like you would using an electric shaver. The tweezers rotate through and pull out even the tiniest of hairs, down to .5mm! This results in long lasting hair removal which is equivalent to waxing (one to two months, depending on hair regrowth rate).

Again, you’re plucking out hairs, so epilation can be slightly uncomfortable. The flip side is that after you pluck the hair from the follicle, the new grown hair is much thinner and less stable, which means pulling out the regrowth is much less of a hassle!

For more information on epilators, check out the great site Hair Farewell.

So, while keeping your skin gorgeous and smooth is a priority for many, wasting water need not be! Try out some of these hair removal alternatives, and give mother nature a little bit of a break!

 

Halogen Ovens – Environmentally Friendly And Easy To Use

A few months ago, acting on the recommendation of a family member, I looked into halogen ovens. My initial aim was to eat more healthily (I have a bit of a weakness for fried food), but I was pleasantly surprised to find that these ovens would save me time, money and help me to be more environmentally friendly at the same time.

And there’s no sacrifice to make – not in terms of taste or convenience. In fact, since I got my halogen oven, I rarely use my “main” oven – and I would really miss my halogen oven if, for any reason, it wasn’t available to use. That’s the thing, it really isn’t a chore. Once you try one, you’ll probably wonder how you managed without it.

Here are some of the main benefits:

Health

As mentioned, one of my weaknesses is fried food. Basically, if you can fry it, then I’ll eat it. One of the main attractions of the halogen oven for me was its ability to air fry foods using no, or very little, oil.

You can cook French fries, breaded chicken, bacon, sausages – pretty much anything that you would fry, but without having to use oil. The food tastes great, but it’s a lot healthier for you.

Versatility

Apart from the air fry option, halogen ovens will cook anything that you would normally prepare in your main oven or on the hob. You can grill steaks, steam fish, heat up frozen pizza, bake cookies, roast poultry and meat – you can even bake bread if you want.

Dishes that you wouldn’t dream of preparing in a microwave oven can be cooked in your halogen oven. You can even use foil containers if you like! I can’t think of anything that you could cook in a conventional oven that wouldn’t be suitable for a halogen oven.

Speed of Preparation

Halogen ovens use a halogen light bulb as the heat source (hence the name). They also have a small fan which ensures that the heat produced is evenly distributed throughout the oven.

The halogen heat combines with infra red and convection cooking to cook food quite a bit faster than a traditional oven. To be honest, this does depend quite a bit on the type of dish being prepared – some dishes “respond” faster to halogen cooking than others, but you can save time on most dishes.

The halogen heat is also instantaneous. There’s no need to wait for the oven to reach temperature. Just put your food in, set the temperature and the timer and away you go. That alone can save you quite a bit of time.

Economical And Environmentally Friendly

As mentioned, cooking time can be significantly reduced when using a halogen oven. Combined with the fact that the halogen oven bowls are much smaller than a standard oven, that means that a lot less energy is used when cooking.

I haven’t actually measured the reduction, but most manufacturers claim a 75% reduction in energy usage when compared to preparing the same dish in a traditional oven. You save money whilst being kind to the environment at the same time.

Ease of Use

Halogen ovens are very easy to use. Set the temperature, set the timer and then get on with whatever else you want to do. It really is that simple.

And when you’re finished your meal, cleaning your halo oven is a breeze. You can use the self cleaning setting – just add water, detergent and set the timer – or you can pop the glass bowl in your dishwasher. It’s a lot easier than cleaning a traditional oven. You won’t need to use any harsh chemicals – and you won’t need to kneel down and stick your head in an oven for (at least) half an hour.

In Summary

Personally, I don’t know how I got by before I had my halogen oven. It can save you time and money. It’s versatile and easy to use – and it provides you with tasty, healthy meals, even if, like me, you have a bit of a weakness for fried food. It will also save energy and requires no harsh chemicals to keep clean – so it will help you to reduce your environmental impact.

All things considered, a halogen oven is well worth considering – even if you’re not addicted to fried foods!

 

A Few Ways to Look Good While Volunteering

Volunteering is a great use of time. We all like to do it, or at least we wish we could do more of it. It’s mostly great because of the people you get to help in the process, and the other volunteers that you get to meet.

We are going to bring this article into a different direction that we usually do. We’re going to talk about how to look good while you’re volunteering. Because, at the end of the day, if you’re doing what you love and you’re around a bunch of other people who love the same thing, it’s a perfect place to meet someone who has the same interest and also cares about people like you do. I’m not saying it should be your only incentive, but it might be an added incentive when you choose to volunteer when you’re too tired, or have too much going on. I could help give you a push!

We are going to go through a few different options for those who want to look good while they volunteer.

Makeup: choose some makeup that advertises lasting effects. This is especially true with mascara, which goes a long way if it’s waterproof. You are going to be out there sweating profusely. If you choose makeup that will run easily, it will have reverse effects. You’ll come out looking like complete crap, and that’s just not what we’re going for here. You also don’t want to put on makeup that has too bold of colors. You don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard. It should be sweet and subtle.

Clothes: clearly you want to wear something like workout clothes. But workout clothes can be very fashionable if you wear them right. They key to workout clothes in contrast. You don’t want to wear dark bottoms and a dark top. That will just look tacky. You want light bottoms and a dark top or dark bottoms with a light top. If you’re a guy, try a pair or light to medium gray shorts that come above the knee with a dark blue or black light fleece. The dark coloring will keep it from getting overly dirty, and the light shorts will complement the fleece well. This way you can look relatively stylish while you volunteer. Also, the people you are volunteering with will know that you also look good outside of the volunteering gig.

Hair: you don’t want to go overboard here. If you’re a girl, don’t do the whole nine. You don’t want to have full, heavy curls with half a can of hairspray in your hair, it will look unnatural, and ultimately superficial. Try a more classic, girls next door look. Maybe bring it back into a pony tail with some loose bangs hanging out, keep it tight and stylish, but also, you don’t want it to look like you’re trying too hard.

For guys, I would emphasize not using a product without matte. You want your hair to look good and stay in place, but you want to forfeit the shine.

Thanks for reading!

 

What You Need to Know about Solar Power

Eco-friendly living does not need to be restrictive. There is no need to live in caves and collect wood for fire just to preserve the nature. Simple things, like selective collection of trash or water waste limitations can minimize the impact people have on earth without yet affecting their overall comfort. Modern living, with all its appliances, gadgets and fancy food is an option even when you want to go green. One of the best examples to limit the carbon footprint and still enjoy the benefits of up-to-date technology is using solar electricity to hear and power your home.

Each year, the earth receives 174 petawatts of solar radiation. Part of it is sent back in space, another part is absorbed by the water and ground, while the last part is directed towards plants and animals. From this last portion of radiations, the humans need only a fraction to have regular power with minimum investment and almost no environment damage.

What is solar power?

Solar power is the technology used to harness sun’s radiant light and heat and transform them into electricity. The first solar device used to produce electricity was built in 1954 and even though its efficiency was rather low, its inventors had high hopes for it. And they were not wrong, as nowadays the solar power is one of the hottest trends in eco-friendly living.

Means of using solar rays in your household

There are numerous ways in which you can use the solar rays to increase the comfort in your home. They are grouped into two categories – the active means and the passive means of using solar rays.

Active means of employing solar power

The active means of using solar power are the ones which catch the solar rays and transform them into electricity or heat. The most popular such devices are the photovoltaic panels and the solar thermal power plants. The photovoltaic panels attract the light towards the semiconductor cells. When the light hits the cell, the electrons are detached from the atoms and start floating inside the cell to create electricity. Solar panels can be installed on the grid or off the grid. You can purchase one or more for individual use or can be grouped together to form solar power plants.

The solar thermal power plants are more similar to traditional power plants, but instead of using coal, the sun power is used. The sun heat is directed towards a container of water which starts boiling and produces electricity. Other plants use oil which is heated until boiling temperature. The oil heats the water to produce power. These plants are usually designed to serve a community and cannot be installed individually. Furthermore, they need professional installation and service for proper functioning.These means of obtaining electricity from solar rays are called supply side technology, because they offer a product/service and encourage its use.

Passive ways of using solar power

Heat absorbing building materials, large windows which enable light to pass inside and heat the air and a design which uses the sun power for heating and natural light inside the house are the main principles of the passive solar power. The buildings are specially designed to ventilate properly during the summer and absorb heat and light during winter time. This type of building is known as a demand side technology, because it reduces the need of using alternate resources for heat, electricity and cooling systems.

Although it has seen a considerable increase in the number of users, the solar power is far from reaching its high potential. Therefore, if you feel the need for an environmental friendly change in your life, take a sneak peak at what it has to offer. Whether you choose solar panels, design your house for maximized efficiency or ask your local power provider for green electricity, you are on the right track to reduce pollution and waste. All these with no sacrifice or side effects!

 

Can Cutting Trees Really Benefit the World’s Climate?

Contrary to popular belief and the ethical norm, cutting down trees is not always harmful for the environment. When done professionally and for the right reasons, the timber industry believes that the process can in fact provide a partial solution for climate change.

Take the case of all those overgrown forests that burned for instance. Burned trees produced a significantly large amount of carbon dioxide releasing them into our environment and consequently affecting climate change. According to Chris West of the American Forest Resource Council, if loggers were able to get to those forests first and thinned the trees, burning may never have happened.

In other words, West believes that rapid climate change no longer allows us to sit back and let Mother Nature take its course. We need to give her a hand and remove as much wood from overgrown forests and use them to build houses and furniture.

Professor Bruce Lippke, researcher at the University Of Washington College Of Forest Resources, backs up West saying that houses are excellent storage banks for carbon. Instead of emitting carbon into the air producing more greenhouse gases, houses made of wood store carbon for decades. Between concrete and wood houses, the latter is certainly the winner when it comes to less carbon dioxide emissions.

For those in the timber industries, it now comes down to knowing when and how to cut overgrown trees right without injuring other healthy trees in the forest. This is where the best chainsaw plays a vital role in improving the health of forest ecosystems. As a viable and powerful tool for loggers, the use of a chainsaw ensures that trees are felled safely and correctly.

When it comes to felling trees, safety always comes first. There is no room for carelessness which is why it’s paramount to choose the right chainsaw to use beforehand and The Power Toolbox is a great place to start when comparing the best options for personal and commercial logging available in the market today.

Timing is another factor to take into account when cutting trees. To help save the environment, loggers must get to the forests before its prime to burn naturally. Whether the trees are meant for building houses, furniture or as fuel, the best time to cut them down is during late fall through winter. At this time, sap saturation is at its lowest hence felling is easier.

The timber industry’s role in helping save forest ecosystems doesn’t stop with cutting down trees at the right time and use them to create savings account for carbon dioxide. Those in the business should also make it their mission to plant new trees in the cut forest to create a cycle that benefits not only the industry but also the environment and the economy.

Some might say, however, that the timber industry is only out to justify cutting more trees. There might be an ounce of truth to that but at the same time, what the like of West and Lippke are suggesting also has its own merits. Houses, after all, will continue to get build and overgrown forests will continue to burn naturally. In the end, the world’s climate can benefit if those trees are used to build houses as carbon storage instead.

 

How Teachers Can Make Students Care About Environmental Health

Caring for the Earth has become more than simply fashionable, it’s absolutely vital for future generations. Conservation offers a way for students – and adults – to become better educated about environmental issues and learn what actionable steps they can take to make a real difference. Teaching students about the environment can be a challenge, though. The concepts can be difficult and, at times, it can be hard for them to understand how doing something now will affect a planet later on. Besides there’s little information they can find in a research paper for sale. Here are seven quick tips for making the lesson easier for students without lessening its overall impact.

1. Start Early – Comparing care for the environment with planting a seed is a good analogy for a reason, students who develop an interest in the outdoors at an early age are more likely to carry that interest through to adulthood.

2. Let Them Get Dirty – If the school or local community has a shared garden or space to offer, make the most of it by supporting your year-long lesson with a hands on experiment in gardening. The benefits of a student garden have been well documented and it can be used to teach about the environment, agriculture and nutrition, making it perhaps the most multi-functional classroom in the world.

3. Get Out the Popcorn – Using independent films to educate students can help them to grasp more complex ideas and concepts without having to navigate through dense text. Bullfrog Films has become the go to source for well-made independent films covering a host of difficult topics, from environmental issues to economic reform.

4. Make it Relevant – Framing ecological issues in a way that is relevant can help students to be more engaged. Teaching High School students about the effects of car emissions can be a tough sell, until you show them how understanding fuel efficiency can help them stretch their gas money.

5. Connect The Earth to Their Goals – Older students may already have an idea of what they want to do as a career. Engage their long term goals with environmental health by finding common ground. Future engineers can connect with the work of the Hoover Dam, fashionistas can find out about sustainable materials and fair trade while future tech heads can learn about the technology that powers renewable energy and recycling.

6. Start Small – Regardless of when you begin lessons about the environment, start small. Smothering kids of any age with too much detail or tons of information can leave them feeling overwhelmed and, eventually, turned off to the idea.

7. Address the Other Side – Issues regarding the environment are the focus of a great deal of debate. As students get older and develop a better understanding of the science behind environmental health, address issues such as climate change denial and oil drilling head on. Don’t demonize the other side but, instead, focus on the science and sense in order to help students develop their own opinions and a better understanding of the issues.

 

The 3 Health Risks of Smoked Foods

One of Americans’ favorite pastimes is a classic barbecue. Family and friends enjoy each others’ company outdoors, while the smell of smoking meat wafts through the yard, enticing neighbors to join the gathering. But did you know that eating smoked or grilled foods can carry significant health implications? Here are three reasons you may be at risk by consuming smoked or grilled meats.

Sodium Content

While this risk factor applies mostly to cold smoked foods, the brining sometimes necessary for heat smoked foods can pose issues as well. Sodium, when used in moderation, is an essential part of your diet. It assists in the balance of electrolytes, fluid maintenance and enzyme functions. It can even help to regulate muscle contractions and prevent cramping. However, excess sodium can lead to stroke, high blood pressure, kidney stones and even heart failure. Cold smoking is a process by which food is cooked over a very low temperature after having been cured or fermented. The curing process adds a considerable amount of salt to the food; an ounce of smoked salmon contains 222 grams of sodium while an ounce of generic potato chips contains only 168 grams. This, of course, is not to say that potato chips are a healthier option than smoked fish. However, as with any snack, smoked meats must be consumed in moderation.

Botulism and Bacteria

Botulism is a food poisoning caused by improperly canned or preserved foods. It’s also caused by improperly fermented or cured meats. In addition to botulism, smoked foods also carry a risk of salmonella and other bacteria, and great care should be taken in preparing them. There are several factors which could cause an increased risk of bacteria in smoked foods, including an improperly cured piece of meat, the quality of the meat purchased for smoking, and the extent to which it is cooked on a smoker. Charcoal smoked food is susceptible to bacteria because the temperature of the smoker is largely unregulated. Internal smoker temperatures may vary greatly, particularly when checking, mopping or flipping meats, and may not cook properly; under-cooked meats are likely to contain harmful bacteria. Cold smoked, cured or fermented meats are especially likely to pose a threat due to the many steps involved in the processing. One way to decrease the risk of bacteria in your smoked meats is to ensure that the meat you purchase is fresh and local, and has not previously been frozen. Often a local butcher can provide meats which may be more safe for smoking.

Carcinogens

While not an immediate threat to your health, studies have proven that using charcoal to smoke meats will release carcinogens into the air, and as a result onto your food. Carcinogens are cancer-causing chemicals. The technical name for the carcinogens released from charcoal is “polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons”, or PAHs, but they’re simply chemicals which are released into the air while burning charcoal, oil, gas and garbage. Unfortunately, there is not only a cancer risk associated with eating charcoal-smoked foods, but also with the grilling process itself. Once inhaled, these PAHs will enter your body and target fat tissues, kidneys and your liver.

There are three ways you can reduce risk of sickness or even death caused by consuming smoked meats. The first, as mentioned previously, is to ensure that you are buying high quality fresh meats which come from local sources. The second is to use an electric smoker for smoking meats. Because the temperature is regulated in an electric smoker, and it does not require the use of charcoal, you will greatly reduce your exposure to bacteria and carcinogens. Electric Smoker Central is a great resource for reviews, tips and recipes which are posted by regular smoker users. Reading through the guest posts will allow you to choose the best electric smoker for you. Finally, if you feel that the taste and smell of charcoal-smoked meat is something that you’re not willing to forfeit, you may choose to purchase pure carbon charcoal. While not one hundred percent safe, burning pure charcoal may help to eliminate some of the risks associated with smoked meats. As with any decadent food, enjoy your smoked meats in moderation.