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A new study from the University of California at Riverside has even more bad news about the effects that swinging by your favorite fast-food chain to gobble up a delicious burger could have. And it's not what you might think.

The study found that commercial char-broilers emit as much pollution cooking just one hamburger as an 18-wheel diesel engine truck driving 143-miles on the freeway. That seems like a lot. The crazy part is, it doesn't really matter what the burger is made of—it all has to do with the device cooking them. Veggie patties on a commercial char-broiler are just as bad.

But that's no reason to stop grilling up your favorite patty—of any variety—in your backyard. The study also said that grilling releases fewer particulates into the air than charbroiling.

What do you think? Can you give up the drive-thru for the sake of our air quality?


Annie Bergman

Annie Bergman is a Global Communications Manager and helps plan, assign and develop content for the nonprofit’s website, magazine and blog. Bergman has interviewed survivors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, beekeepers in Honduras, women’s groups in India and war widows in Kosovo, among many others in her six years at Heifer.