Fireworks: The Annual Whine About Their Environmental Impact

fireworks are pretty but polluting photo

It's the time of year where, as regular as the Fourth of July, we point out that "fireworks are often propelled by gunpowder, and the accelerants and heavy metals used for coloration can leave traces in the air and water for days or even weeks after the party is over." and "fireworks heavily contribute to perchlorate contamination of surrounding water bodies. Perchlorate is well-known to pose risks for both human health and wildlife." The EPA studied a lake in Oklahoma last year and found that within 14 housrs of the fireworks display, perchlorate levels were 1000 times higher than background. (Perchlorate inhibits the workings of the thyroid gland).

While LiveScience reports that there is progress in replacing perchlorate with nitrogen compounds and nitrocellulose, there is still the residue from the colouring agents, made from lovely heavy metals like strontium, barium and copper. We asked last year: It is all very pretty, but is it a celebration of the birth of a country or is it an excuse to blow things up?

This deserves a poll, below the fold.
More fireworks about fireworks in TreeHugger:
Fireworks : Fun for the Whole Family or Dangerous Water ...
Green Fireworks Come in All Colors

It's Canada Day. Let's Lose the Fireworks ! :

The Prettiest Pollutants
4th of July by the Numbers

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