Regulation of solid fuel cooking fumes
There are two categories of regulations which are concerned with the emissions from solid-fuel cooking appliances: the first deals with health and safety regulations inside the building whilst the second focuses on the environmental impact in the neighbourhood.
From a health and safety standpoint the main concern is carbon monoxide gas. This can lead to tiredness, headaches and nausea at low concentrations, followed by unconsciousness and death at higher concentrations. Since even mild carbon monoxide poisoning can impair people’s judgment, the likelihood of accidents also increases in busy kitchens, and they are already hazardous places to work. Carbon monoxide concentrations above 30 parts per million (ppm) are potentially dangerous in the workplace, however we have measured over 1,000 ppm in close proximity to a charcoal oven and over 30,000 ppm (3%) in the flue itself!
The Health and Safety Executive in the UK has recently published a useful information sheet entitled ‘Preventing exposure to carbon monoxide from use of solid fuel appliances in commercial kitchens’ and this can be downloaded from this link:
Health & Safety Executive guide (PDF)
Regulations which focus on the environmental impact of solid-fuel burning usually vary depending on the type of neighbourhood where it takes place. In the UK many cities are designated as ‘Smoke Control Areas’ which means that appliances which burn solid fuel need to comply with strict limits for their particulate emissions. Appliances are tested by DEFRA to determine whether they meet these standards. Restaurants also need to avoid creating a nuisance, for example offensive smells, and if they fail to do so they may attract complaints from neighbours followed by enforcement action by the local government.