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Calif. Bay Area to require filters on some restaurant broilers

SAN FRANCISCO The Bay Area Air Quality Management District reportedly voted Wednesday to require emission controls on restaurant charbroilers that cook high volumes of beef.

The regulation will apply to restaurants with open, slotted charbroilers that cook 800 pounds of beef per week, beginning in 2013. Quick service restaurants with chain-driven charbroilers that heat burgers on a conveyor belt would require emission controls if they cook 400 pounds of beef per week, beginning in January 2009. Restaurant chains like McDonald’s would be exempt because the burgers are cooked on griddles.

Regulators say the controls would reduce public exposure to fine soot particles in the air that can cause respiratory problems. The move, however, was strongly opposed by the California Restaurant Association, which argued that the expensive filtering equipment would cost restaurants $30,000 or more to install.

Commercial charbroilers are thought to emit 6.9 tons per day of fine soot particles and 1.1 tons per day of smog-forming gases, with beef cited as a particular concern because of its higher fat content.

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