Activated charcoal is a fine black powder made from bone char, coconut shells, peat, petroleum coke, coal, olive pits or sawdust.The charcoal is “activated” by processing it at very high temperatures. The high temperatures change its internal structure, reducing the size of its pores and increasing its surface area. This results in a charcoal that is more porous than regular charcoal. Activated charcoal shouldn’t be confused with charcoal briquettes that are used to light your barbecue. While both can be made from the same base materials, charcoal briquettes have not been “activated” at high temperatures. Moreover, they contain additional substances that are toxic to humans.