by KYW’s medical editor Dr. Brian McDonough

Labor Day is around the corner, and according to health officials, you need to be aware of certain risks when you’re grilling.

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The problem is the fine balance between cooking burgers long enough to protect against bacterial contamination, and not cooking them long enough to produce high amounts of HCAs, or heterocyclic amines.

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HCAs are human carcinogens. If you cookout this could be a risk, but there are ways to cut down on the harmful HCAs. One option, marinate the meat first in a sugar, oil, and vinegar mixture. Another idea is a tart cherry. They reduce heterocyclic amines. But be aware of tomato based marinade which can increase the carcinogens.

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Once again if you cook out every now and then, you don’t have to be overly concerned.