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4th Of July Fireworks: The Dangers Of Pyrotechnics In The Environment

First Posted: Jul 04, 2016 05:19 AM EDT

Fireworks and sparklers are a popular part of many festivities - the Fourth of July celebrations in particular. But while pretty to look at, they are dangerous for the users, pets, and the environment as well.

In a report from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, majority of firework-related injuries are burns, and different parts of the body can get hurt - hands and fingers, head, and even eyes.

Many states in the US make it illegal to use fireworks, but while safety issues are the main concern, there are also environmental implications that people have to look out for.

For instance, fireworks can add a lot of pollution in the air. According to The Guardian, firework smoke is rich in metal particles - making it very different than the average urban air pollution. These metal particles used to make firework colors different include strontium or lithium (red), copper (blue) and barium compounds (bright green or white). With more colors also come more chemicals - Rubidium (purple), and cadmium (various colors).

Cadmium is a known human carcinogen that damages lungs and can fluster the stomach if consumed. If this chemical gets back on the ground, plants, animals, and even fish can eat or absorb them, and make their way up the food chain,

To blow these fireworks up, charcoal and sulfur fuel, as well as potassium nitrate are mixed together in a form of gunpowder, which helps the fireworks and other pyrotechnics blow up in the air. Modern gunpowder uses perchlorates, which use chemicals with chlorine and oxygen as oxidizers. High levels of Percholates limit the ability of thyroid glands to take iodine from the bloodstream resulting in hypothyroidism.

Mother Nature News pointed out that although the use of fireworks are fleeting and infrequent, they spray a toxic concoction that end up on lakes, river, and bays, and many of them have chemical that don't break down, making them dangerous to the animals in the water.

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