“Exposure to all particulate matter is a health concern,” says Karen Magliano, assistant division chief of air quality planning and science for the Air Resources Board. Though restaurant smoke is a contributor to air pollution, the ARB doesn’t view it as a major concern.
Indoor exposure, however, is different. Peggy Jenkins, manager of the ARB’s indoor air quality program, says that even a restaurant with a good ventilation system can cause issues. “Workers would be the most impacted, but patrons who are there for an hour or two near the flame-burning activity can have pretty high exposure, too.” In other words, as alluring as the fire is, it might be wise to sit just a bit farther away. That, or inhale your dinner quickly.
Originally published in the March issue of San Francisco