Trendy wood-burning ovens may make for a tastier pizza, but it comes at a cost – and I’m not talking about the premium price you pay to say you’re eating a pizza from a trendy wood-burning oven. According to a recent study, these fancy pizza stoves may be hurting the environment.
According to the Daily Mail, environmental experts from seven different countries recently teamed up for a paper published in the journal Atmospheric Environment that looked into emissions caused by these specialty ovens in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Amazingly, the city of over 11 million people produces about one million pizzas per day, adding up to over 307,000 tons of wood burned each year. That much smoke is not without its environmental impact. In fact, the researchers began to hone in on these specific stoves, which can also be found in some steakhouses, after noticing that reducing the amount of traffic emissions wasn’t lowering pollution. “While most studies in Brazil have focused on impacts of vehicle emissions on air quality and human health, the impacts of emissions from wood/coal burning and meat-cooking in pizzerias and restaurants are yet to be quantified,” said study co-author Yang Zhang of North Carolina State University. This is far from the first time pizza ovens have been dinged as polluters.
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As if this all wasn’t bad enough, the smoke from these ovens is apparently even worse than we may recognize. “'Once in the air, the emitted pollutants can undergo complex physical and chemical processes to form harmful secondary pollutants such as ozone and secondary aerosol,” Zhang was also quoted as saying.
For pizza fans, the news comes as a rude awakening. It’s enough to make you ask yourself, “Is there a better way?” Though I also found myself asking, “One million pizzas? Do people in San Paulo eat pizza for every meal? That is insane.”