Charcoal lighter fluid contains petroleum distillate solvents that make it flammable and give it the properties of evaporation and combustion. However, when combusted, these petrochemicals contribute to air pollution and are harmful to human health.
Since charcoal lighter fluid contains flammable petrochemicals, it makes lighting charcoal fast and easy. Also, barbecuing with charcoal lends an authentic flavor to foods.
However, when the petrochemical distillates in the fluid that soaks the charcoal undergo combustion or when the fluid evaporates, volatile organic compounds are produced. When these compounds mix with other pollutants in the atmosphere, they lead to the formation of ground-level ozone via a reaction that is catalyzed by sunlight. In this way, charcoal fluid lighters contribute to ground-level ozone air pollution.
Additionally, the components of charcoal lighter fluid are toxic to the human system. The liquid leaves a residue in the food which, when consumed, can cause food poisoning and damage the nervous system and kidneys. The fumes of the combusted or evaporated liquid can also lead to respiratory problems. Moreover, charcoal lighter fluid is hazardous to store at home since it is flammable.
Two ways of avoiding the adverse effects of charcoal lighter fluid are using a charcoal chimney starter and using natural gas or propane to ignite the charcoal. These methods are cheaper and more eco-friendly.