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Fireworks pretty, but poisonous

| November 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

Fireworks mark high days and holidays, such as New Year’s Eve, in various countries around the world.
However, the brilliant bursts cause alarming spikes in air pollution, a new study shows. Scientists gathered evidence
from 300 air-quality monitoring sites between 1999 and 2013 and released their findings earlier this year. They were
analysing the microscopic particles that embed themselves in human and animal lung tissue during firework displays. These tiny particles can exacerbate respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and asthma attacks and could even contribute to heart attacks, strokes and early death, say medical experts. People at greatest risk for problems from fine particulate matter are those with heart or lung disease, older adults and children. Fireworks contain chemicals such as potassium nitrates, potassium chlorate, potassium perchlorate, charcoal, sulphur, manganese, sodium oxalate, aluminium and iron dust powder, strontium nitrate and barium nitrate, soot and smoke, and magnesium. Another toxin in fireworks is sulphur dioxide, which can combine with water in air to create acid rain. After New Year celebrations ended in early January 2017 in Germany, a relatively small nation, scientists suggested that the displays released 4 000 tonnes of toxins into the atmosphere.
According to reports, this is equivalent to 15% of particulate emissions released by vehicles in that country annually. A ban on private fireworks parties in that country is being discussed.


Category: Summer 2017

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