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NC State Study Finds Tailgating A Hot Spot For Pollution

Photo of a smoking grill
Jack Bunds
Charcoal grills are one of the three main sources of potentially harmful pollution while tailgating, according to a recent NC State study.

Football season is right around the corner. But according to an NC State study, you might want to reconsider your tailgating plans.

A team of NC State professors, led by Kyle Bunds, Jonathan Casper and Chris Frey measured air quality at football games, before, during and after the game. They found several sources of potentially harmful pollution.

The three main culprits are parking lot traffic, grills and electric generators, according to Frey, a professor of environmental engineering. However, if you choose to tailgate, there are ways to limit your exposure to pollution.

"If you can avoid running an engine or a vehicle while you're tailgating, that's preferred," Frey said. "You can use a propane grill rather than a charcoal grill. You can always observe what direction smoke is going and try to stay upwind of that."

Frey said this is the first time air quality has been measured in this setting and hopes it will raise awareness come tailgate season.

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