Environmental Cleanup

Fireworks do more than light up the sky
July 3, 2009, 12:26 am
Filed under: Environment | Tags:

Independence Day… When we think about july 4th, we think about summer weather, spending time with our friends and family, BBQ parties, that grateful feeling we get when we stop to think about how lucky we are to live in this great nation, and, of course, fireworks. Fireworks are like the Christmas tree of summer. Except that they can’t be cut up and added to the compost bin once the holiday is over. Instead they pollute our environment. This is something we really don’t think about when we are being mesmerized by their colors and movement, but fireworks contain, among other things, oxidizers, fuels, colors, and propellants. Once the show is over, while we are busy finding our car, or snapping a last photo, all of this contaminants fall into the soil and water, polluting it.

And yes, one could argue that the amount of pollution is surely minimal, and probably offset by the fact that thousands of people are just standing there, watching. But the main problem, is that scientists cannot really determine the consequences of the pollution caused by fireworks. Perchlorate, an oxidizer commonly used in fireworks, has been found to interfere with iodide uptake into the thyroid gland. It leaches into the groundwater, contaminating drinking water resources, and can sometimes reach levels higher than the 15 parts per billion (ppb) that the EPA established in their guidelines.

The Mother Nature Network published a report discussing this matter, they say that:

“According to 2007 study of an Oklahoma lake following fireworks displays overhead found that perchlorate levels spiked more than 1,000 times above the baseline level for 14 hours after a show.”

Fireworks that are less polluting are being researched, but so far they are not widely available. So this 4th, lets have a more green celebration, maybe you can even try making your own rockets?
Awesome Non-Polluting Rockets via Alpha Mom

Happy 4th!


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