While they are most known for scaring the heck out of dogs, fireworks have a deeper impact on the environment than we realize, and are even called ‘the prettiest pollutant’ for our world. Every explosion of fireworks causes are pollution as sparks, bits of metal, and chemicals are radiated outward into the air.
These dangers often hang around in the air and damage any living thing they contact, and breathing in these air particles can cause coughing, breathing problems, and asthma and heart attacks, especially among the young and elderly.
For the firework parts that hit the ground, the chemicals inside of them can get into soil and water, damaging the local ecosystem even more. Other unexploded or dull fireworks can also be left on the ground and can explode at any point if not disposed of properly, further damaging the ecosystem and possibly the people around it.
A chemical cocktail
Fireworks are chemical mixes, and those chemicals can be toxic to humans. With these chemicals that can infect soil and water as well as stay there because they do not break down, it’s no trouble for these chemicals to infect humans.
When fireworks explode, they ignite a mix of charcoal and sulfur fuel along with potassium nitrate, or gunpowder for the non-scientists out there. However, one of the other chemicals called perchlorate- which is often a substitute for potassium nitrate, can impact people’s hormones.
Without the correct amount of these hormones, people can suffer disorders and stunted growth, and children are the ones who suffer the most from a lack of hormones such as the thyroid hormone, while in low does the perchlorates don’t bother adults.
However, the levels of this dangerous chemical spike drastically in lakes and in the air after a firework show, proving that not all of the chemicals are destroyed during the explosion. In addition, the chemicals from charcoal and sulfur can cause lung cancer and aggravate asthma if they are exposed too.
Other chemicals that provide the color to fireworks can also cause physical and mental problems at high doses, causing concern as health officials try to limit overexposure.
Fire in fireworks
Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of fireworks is the fire, as rockets that explode on the ground can injure people when the fireworks that were supposed to be launched at the sky instead become unintentional missiles that can injure others and start fires that can add to the mayhem. Vehicles, buildings, and people can all be burned by accidents.
With dangers both physical and environmental to worry about, many professional shows are starting to put regulations into their fireworks and even attempt to make them as healthy and environmentally friendly as possible by changing out the chemicals. Lasers are also seeing use to light up the sky as a cheaper alternative.
While fireworks are fun, colorful, and patriotic, they also might be a little too dangerous to bring people too unless we know that our night of fun won’t have any ill side effects.