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St. Jude Radiothon 2024

Grilling and eating BBQ in my household was a part of life. It was a rights-of-passage for the young men in the family to show that they are growing up. Men across the country love to grill. There are shows, restaurants, competitions and big money competitions all dedicated to the art of grilling.

A growing body of research suggests that cooking meats over a flame is linked to cancer. Combusting wood, gas, or charcoal emits chemicals known as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons. Exposure to these so-called PAHs is known to cause skin, liver, stomach, and several other types of cancer in lab animals, but how does it affect humans?

Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) form in protein-rich foods when cooked at a very high heat — like that of your backyard barbecue, says Doyle. PAHs form when fat drips and burns on the grill, creating smoke. As the smoke circulates around your meat, those compounds can get deposited on whatever you’re grilling and you consume it.

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