Loud bangs light up the sky followed by an explosion of color , fun shrieks of excitement from spectators down below, and delicious smells of grilling out all combine for  the U.S. 4th of July Holiday. As American lockdown measures intensify amid increasing case counts, nightly firework shows and sales have exponentially increased across major cities. Urban centers including: New York City, Boston, and San Francisco have seen a drastic increase in illegal firework usage (+2300% in Boston alone) and noise associated complaints leading up to and following the 244th Independence Day celebration. However, firework usage in densely populated areas is not only a concern due to potential public safety risks, but it also introduces harmful pollutants into the atmosphere and results in overall air quality decline. 

Researchers studying the negative health impacts of fireworks set off at the Spring Festival in Northern China noted up to a 20-fold increase in atmospheric concentrations of barium and strontium following firework shows. Firework-associated health impacts, such as respiratory irritation and aggravation of pre-existing pulmonary conditions from increased particulate matter, increased 5 times following firework burning periods. Children were the most affected. 

Studies on the threat to environmental quality and public health conclude that stricter fireworks regulations are needed. Regulations of fireworks within the U.S. vary widely by state and they can be challenging to enforce – but there have been increased efforts by companies to create “green” fireworks that limit contributions to air pollution, offering greater public health protections. This might be something to keep in mind when shopping for your next round of fireworks.  

Managing Correspondent: Samantha Tracy

Press Articles: Firework complaints surge in US cities

Original Scientific Articles: “Chemical characteristics and health risks of trace metals in PM2.5 from firework/firecracker burning during the Spring Festival in North China

Image credit: Pixabay

2 thoughts on “Fireworks Soar as National Health Plummets

  1. Back when it was rumored that HIV passes through latex, as a surgeon I stayed stable thanks to Fauci. But when this year asked why we don’t use he South Korean or German tests, he said that they are sub-par and we’re coming out with a great one. It was crap so he has to take blame for leaving us for months with nothing. Now we’re again out of test– not his fault but that of the orange orangutan. But I hope be pushes for more active research. Recently I asked CDC if CoV2 can be transmitted from descecaded wild animal feces that is rendered airborne by ind and if there’s a protocol for testing after mosquito bite from a mosquito that ingested infected blood. The answer was: “We received no indication of that so don’t worry about it. ” I asked, “Why can’t you just say that you don’t know?” to which there was a stern reply: “I didn’t say that, I said that there are no indications so don’t worry about it.” Next time I make a medical inquiry it’s for the sake of a human life, so maybe they should remember that they’re physicians, not lawyers.”

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