Barbecue charcoal combustion as a potential source of aromatic volatile organic compounds and carbonyls

J Hazard Mater. 2010 Feb 15;174(1-3):492-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2009.09.079. Epub 2009 Sep 23.


The emission concentrations of a number of aromatic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbonyl compounds were quantified during the combustion of commonly used barbecue charcoal. The concentrations of VOC and carbonyls were determined by gas chromatography coupled with thermal desorption and HPLC method, respectively. The analysis of VOC emission concentrations showed that toluene (116+/-444 ppb) was the most abundant. On the other hand, the carbonyls were dominated by formaldehyde (275+/-477 ppb) and acetaldehyde (126+/-229 ppb). A line of evidence indicates that the emission patterns of these pollutants are associated with the diverse nature of raw materials and the processes involved in their production. Although emission concentrations of target compounds were in most cases below the permissible exposure limits (PEL), a proper regulation against the use of BBQ charcoal is needed to reduce potential health risks associated with its use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Charcoal*
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Ketones*
  • Limit of Detection
  • Volatile Organic Compounds*


  • Ketones
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Charcoal