Charcoal briquettes are widely used for outdoor grilling and barbecues in backyards and on camping trips.
In many non-industrialized countries, for instance in Africa , charcoal is used for everyday cooking by a large portion of the population. This is potentially a serious health problem when used indoors since carbon monoxide (CO) is a combustion product.
Historically, charcoal was used in great quantities for smelting iron in bloomeries and later blast furnaces and finery forges . This use was replaced by coke during the Industrial Revolution .
In times of scarce petroleum, automobiles and even buses have been converted to burn wood gas (gas mixture containing primarily carbon monoxide ) released by burning charcoal or wood in a wood gas generator .
The porosity of activated charcoal accounts for its ability to readily adsorb gases and liquids; charcoal is often used to filter water or adsorb odors . Its pharmacological action depends on the same property; it adsorbs the gases of the stomach and intestines , and also liquids and solids (hence its use in the treatment of certain poisonings ). Charcoal filters are used in some types of gas mask to remove poisonous gases from inhaled air. Wood charcoal also to some extent removes coloring material from solutions, but animal charcoal is generally more effective.