Fireworks under fire

UPDATE: Yes, sadly, I had to look. There’s the fireworks and global warming question being bandied about related to the 2012 Olympics. See below the read more line. – Anthony

From the Journal of Obvious Science department: Smoke from fireworks is harmful to health. In related news, excessive smoke inhalation can cause death, and fireworks can explode in your hand, (warning, graphic) causing loss of fingers . All the more reason to have “strict controls on fireworks imports so that those with the potentially most dangerous chemical composition can be avoided”. Up next month in the Journal of Obvious Science; pot smoke at concerts causes mass mellow.

The metallic particles in the smoke emitted by fireworks pose a health risk, particularly to people who suffer from asthma. Credit: Jorge Alejo

The metallic particles in the smoke emitted by fireworks pose a health risk, particularly to people who suffer from asthma. This is the conclusion of a study led by researchers from the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC), published this week in the Journal of Hazardous Materials.

“The toxicological research has shown that many of the metallic particles in the smoke from fireworks are bio-reactive and can affect human health”, Teresa Moreno, a researcher from the IDAEA (CSIC) and lead author of a study that has been published this week in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, tells SINC.

The different colours and effects produced in these displays are achieved by adding metals to the gunpowder. When a pyrotechnic display takes place it releases a lot of smoke, liberating minute metallic particles (of a few microns in size, or even less), which are small enough to be inhaled deeply into the lungs.

“This poses a risk to health, and the effects are probably more acute in people with a background of asthma or cardiovascular problems”, Moreno explains. “The effects in healthy people are still unknown, but common sense tells us it cannot be good to inhale the high levels of metallic particles in this smoke, even if this only happens a few times a year”.

The study focused on the San Juan fiestas (the night of 23 June through to 24 June, 2008) in the Spanish city of Girona. The researchers analysed the levels of more than 30 chemical elements and compounds in May and June in order to confirm that the levels of lead, copper, strontium, potassium and magnesium skyrocketed after the fireworks were launched.

The team found the results were similar in other towns too. During the Mascletà (18 March), for example, in the Las Fallas fiestas in Valencia, levels of these elements rose once again, as well as others such as aluminium, titanium, barium and antimony, and also concentrations of nitric oxide (NO) and sulphur dioxide (SO2).

Other studies have confirmed that the smoke from fireworks increases the presence of metallic particles in the skies over L’Alcora and Borriana (Castellón), Barcelona and even London (United Kingdom) during the Guy Fawkes’ Night celebrations.

“People who live in cities already inhale significant amounts of contaminant particles stemming from traffic emissions, chimneys and cigarettes, and the dense smoke caused by fireworks only worsens this situation”, points out Moreno.

Possible solutions

The researcher compares the problem with that of tobacco. “The less you expose yourself to the smoke, the fewer negative effects it will have on your health, and so the best solution is to avoid inhaling it”.

According to the scientists, in the absence of a ban on fireworks, spectators should stay well back in a place not affected by the smoke and pay attention to the wind direction. They also recommend that fireworks displays should be sited in a place that ensures the plume of smoke will blow away from densely populated areas.

An added problem is the chemical mixtures in the different kinds of fireworks, since some contain extremely toxic metals such as lead. “There should be strict controls on fireworks imports so that those with the potentially most dangerous chemical composition can be avoided”, concludes Moreno.

###

References: Teresa Moreno, Xavier Querol, Andrés Alastuey, Fulvio Amato, Jorge Pey, Marco Pandolfi, Nino Kuenzli, Laura Bouso, Marcela Rivera y Wes Gibbons. “Effect of fireworks events on urban background trace metal aerosol concentrations: Is the cocktail worth the show?” Journal of Hazardous Materials 183 (1-3): 945-949, 15 de noviembre de 2010. Doi:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.07.082.

UPDATE: Yes, it gets worse. From this Ask.com question:

It stems from this story:

Olypmic sized stupidity, I’d say.

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92 thoughts on “Fireworks under fire

  1. Uhmm, that’s, well, ok, yes, inhaling metallic filled smoke is probably a bad idea. Thanks for that. We’d probably never come to that conclusion without that insightful study.
    The study focused on the San Juan fiestas (the night of 23 June through to 24 June, 2008) in the Spanish city of Girona.
    Did we just pay for an all expense paid vacation? Where can I get a gig like that?

  2. The scientists’ job is to assess the risks of various actions. It is up to us to decide what risks we wish to take. There is no point in demonizing the messenger. If you have an asthmatic child you might not want to sit too close to where the fireworks are launched. If you run fireworks displays for a living you may want to wear a mask.

  3. OK. The greatest danger to human beings is in exhaled breath, containing potentially lethal viruses and fungi, that are way, way more toxic than fireworks.
    Solution? Let’s work that out…Possibly a sociologist can write the grant proposal.

  4. These people must live in abject terror that someone, somewhere, is having fun.
    I’m self-snipping a lot. Next thing you know, they’ll be telling me I’m going to go blind.

  5. This is just sad… How much money was wasted on this study, how much money is wasted every year for duh? This reminds me of studies done by the FDA. The headline reads: Drinking beer causes death in lab rats. Then if anyone bothers to follow up on the study it turns out that drinking the equivalent of 16 kegs a day causes lab rats to explode, researchers are baffled.

  6. Wow – who would have thought that smoke from fireworks was dangerous? – hey maybe they could do a study on smoke from welding, cars, bonfires, coal fires, barbeques, camp fires , house fires, industrial incident fires, marijuana, crack, etc, etc…….wait a minute, I think I’ve just spotted a pattern here – yes, that’s it – anything that burns produces smoke! and… because we need clean air, anything that produces smoke must be bad for you – I think this could be pretty well accepted as a new universal ‘law’ for air breathing life forms -don’t you?
    I find it incredible that anyone would actually need to study this – surely it is common sense?
    I am sure this is taught very early in that famous university foundation course ‘The Bleedin’ Obvious for Dummies’
    /sarc off

  7. The greenies will never be satisfied until the rest of us are all sitting in the dark and cold with nothing to eat.

  8. I note that this week the Sunday Times advised us not to throw sticks for dogs as they might bruise their diddle mouths.
    They no doubt will be warning us off gargling with broken glass and wearing barbed wire next to the skin

  9. If that is true, then how did China manage to grow 1.4 billion people. Jeez. What a Duh! moment. If you stick a loaded gun in your mouth and pull the trigger, it’s a good bet that you will lose your mind also. Why does it take millions of (taxpayer )$$ to make obvious pronouncements on stuff like this? Obviousman syndrome is rampant.

  10. And the only ‘reason’ given for this alarmist tripe is “common sense tells us it cannot be good to inhale the high levels of metallic particles in this smoke, even if this only happens a few times a year”
    Got any sort of proof? You know, that “evidence” stuff, stuff that really does convince sentient beings?
    FAIL.

  11. This is the conclusion of a study led by researchers from the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC), published this week in the Journal of Hazardous Materials.

    I have a funding proposal for groundbreaking research.
    “Sitting on a bonfire can burn your butt” or
    “Badly standing fireworks can be killer projectiles” or
    “Inhaling gunpowder MAY cause lung problems”
    Climate Researchers know they are in the money. Any old crap research linking climate to anything pays. :O)
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11555
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1816860.stm
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17657-global-warming-could-change-earths-tilt.html
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2007/04/the-real-roots-of-darfur/5701/
    http://www.heatisonline.org/contentserver/objecthandlers/index.cfm?ID=5014&Method=Full&PageCall=&Title=Grass%20Grows%20in%20Warming%20Antarctica&Cache=False
    http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200611/s1779067.htm

  12. Lead? What’s that good for in fireworks?

    The study focused on the San Juan fiestas (the night of 23 June through to 24 June, 2008) in the Spanish city of Girona. The researchers analysed the levels of more than 30 chemical elements and compounds in May and June in order to confirm that the levels of lead, copper, strontium, potassium and magnesium skyrocketed after the fireworks were launched.

    http://asq.org/qualitynews/qnt/execute/displaySetup?newsID=4104 says in part

    Manufacturers once added lead to fireworks to produce a crackle effect. Industry testing occasionally still detects it in fireworks made in China.
    But odds are good those fireworks never enter the United States, say representatives of the fireworks industry and a national fireworks safety group. A voluntary testing program, encouraged by the federal government, keeps lead-tainted fireworks off the market by catching them at the source in China, they say.

    As for the rest (and calcium), see http://chemistry.about.com/od/fireworkspyrotechnics/a/fireworkcolors.htm

  13. That reminds me, I need to check on an old can of calcium carbide that’s been left to rust in the often-damp basement.
    Never did get around to testing out that old miner’s lamp…

  14. If fireworks are a hazard, then just imagine WAR. Ban war, celebrate with fireworks. much healthier.

  15. I think we need to consider: What’s the health hazards of constantly catching whiffs of bullshot?
    It’s only common sense that although the effects on healthy people is unknown, it can’t be good for them.
    I think we should ban bullshot. But in the absence of a ban, we should impose mandatory rules on Journals who expose us to this kind of bullshot. A metric should be devised, and Journals will be forced to classify their material by the amount of bullshot contained within.
    If bullshot is in the air – then air should be banned. In the absence of a ban on air, we should ban something. Something. Anything. Something has to be banned.

  16. These people have no life, everything that is fun will be abolished by them if they have their way, the climaban at its best.
    Enjoy it while it lasts.

    (8000 pieces of fireworks in just over a minute, turn up te volume 🙂

  17. “This poses a risk to health, and the effects are probably more acute in people with a background of asthma or cardiovascular problems”.
    “The effects in healthy people are still unknown…”
    So people who already suffer from pulmonary disabilities should avoid smoke and healthy people don’t need to worry about it.
    Whoda thunk it?

  18. WARNING: Activities like living, breathing, eating, doing anything at all physical, not doing anything at all and simply being alive could endanger your health.

  19. Isn’t the obvious answer — since cigarette smoking and second hand smoke from cigarettes kills so many people —- Why not just smoke pot. Get right with the liberals.

  20. Here we go again, the Nanny State telling you the obvious.
    Having said that, it is also perfectly obvious that certain people have no idea of risk.
    Children, nowadays are so molly-coddled from birth that their immune system is stymied, their instinctive reactions are curbed (apart from screaming in a shopping mall, because Mom refuses to buy what the sprog wants), they are protected from whatever danger man can throw at them (look at the ridiculous get-up that child- cyclists are stuffed into), and then Ma or Pa is very angry when something untoward happens to their offspring after spending all those dollars.
    Children need to experience the good, the bad and the ugly, including the downright risky, such as fireworks. Sing with me, ‘Where has all the parenting gone, long time passing?’
    Mostly, the reason is down to over-protection of said child. The latter has had no opportunity in real life to experience any accident or misfortune, so how in the hell is he or she equipped to look after her/himself?

  21. “This poses a risk to health, and the effects are probably more acute in people with a background of asthma or cardiovascular problems”, Moreno explains. “The effects in healthy people are still unknown, but common sense tells us it cannot be good to inhale the high levels of metallic particles in this smoke, even if this only happens a few times a year”.

    Zzzz….
    Ok, tell me when a problem is actually discovered. All the issues mentioned are easily handled with a bit of common sense and maybe a safety standard or two (to prevent premature detonation and such.)

  22. “The metallic particles in the smoke emitted by fireworks pose a health risk, particularly to people who suffer from asthma. ”
    Doesn’t all smoke (with or without metallic particles) pose a health risk, particularly to people who suffer from asthma?

  23. Why on earth is there a Journal of Hazardous Materials? Everything on earth can be hazardous if used in the wrong way.

  24. I’m guessing they wouldn’t much care for the demolition derby we have before the fireworks each Independence Day, either.

  25. The mollycoddling does sort of remind me of an SF book I read years ago, (may have been Robert Heinlein), where all risks were removed, the technological elite were despised & hidden. Cars were limited to 30mph & air blown through the passenger cell to give an impression of speed. Overpopulation was the name of the game. Sorry, not a good précis.
    DaveE.

  26. More people trying to ruin our lives, when i was a kid in the 70s/80s we did crazy stuff like this
    1. Our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based paint which we promptly chewed and licked off.
    2. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or cabinets and it was fine to play with pans.
    3. When we rode our bikes we wore no helmets, just flip flops and fluorescent spokey dokey’s on our wheels.
    4. We would ride in cars with no seatbelts or airbags and sitting in the front was a treat.
    5. We drank water from puddles and garden hoses, not from a bottle – and it tasted the same.
    6. We ate chips, sweets, drank fizzy juice with sugar in it but we were never fat because we were outside playing.
    7. We shared one drink with 4 friends, drinking from the same bottle, and no-one actually died from this.
    8. We spent hours building go carts out of scraps and then went top speed down the hill, only to find we forgot the brakes.
    Are we now living in nanny states?

  27. G**damn Nanny State. They are now in the death throws of having their last gasp of breath. We shall put them in their place with the next congress.
    They are even trying to ban one of my favorite drinks. Four Locos. I guess for me it will be back to Yegar bombs if they succeed.

  28. “Sitting on a still burning camp fire may incur severe burning”.
    This is the first result of a still running scientific study conducted by several Universities under NASA funding.
    The international scientific team have already verified this revolutionary theory in several different places in the world, including Acapulco, Salvador de Bahia, Hawaï, Florida Keys. More funding is necessary to enhance the coverage.
    If confirmed, this can result in reinforcing the rules about out-door fires.

  29. Useful data, perhaps, but once again let’s keep the policy separate from the science.
    Did they happen to look at Anaheim, oh, any half-dozen nights Disney shoots off their fireworks?

  30. Well, I don’t see what the fuss is all about. First off, I am a lifelong asthmatic; specially in my first two decades; not so much any more.
    Then I grew up with the tradition of Guy Fawkes Day; Nov 5th. We had firecrackers; tiny Chinese made ones maybe 20 mm long and 2 mm diam, packaged in strings of about 100. And we had some bigger ones maybe 4 cm long and 4 mm diam packaged in strings of about40.
    And we had bottle rockets; with heads maybe12 cm long and 3cm diam, and then pinwheels and every other sort of smoking, burning exploding kind of thing. And I never blew my hands off or put anybody’s eye out; even though we also had those namby pamby “sparkler” things on a sharp wire; heck we never even set fire to anything; I must have set off tens of thosuands of fire crackers; we also had some real honker crackers that were maybe a cm diam or 12 mm, and maybe 8 cm long. No we didn’t throw those or hand hold them; but we lit them all the same.
    And we all danced around the bonfire and tossed the effigy of Guy Fawkes on to the raging fire.
    I even ran through the middle of one of those bonfires one day at school; a kid asked me to, after I dared him to run across the burned out embers around the periphery (bare foot; I was always bare foot at school.). Well unfortunately they built this haystack over the goal post hole on the footy field, and I put my foot in the hole and fell over right in the middle of the flaming inferno. It was like Siegfried’s Funeral Pyre.
    Well I had other plans besides Valhalla, so I got up and ran out the other side. The teacher wouldn’t let me stay in school that afternon because I smelled like a Luau cookout, and my hair was all burned off, and there were these funny bublels all over my arms.
    They did let me come back to school about six months later; because all the skin finally grew back on both my arms; which was a nice change from having yellow flesh under gauze bandages and tons of Tannic acid jelly, and bicarbonate of soda. Well I do have a spot about 7 or 8 mm square on one forearm; but otherwise I came through the experiment relatively unscathed.
    I don’t think I even got whacked for that one; and I certainly didn’t get arrested as a trouble maker or something; but they did move the bonfire away from the goal post hole the next year.
    So I’ve never gotten an asthma attack from either watching, or setting off any sort of fireworks; although I haven’t set off an Atlas missile or anything like that; and I didn’t get any asthma from my do yourself barbecue. I think I was ten when I tried that recipe.
    So as I say; what is all the fuss over fireworks. Would you rather have your kids grow up thinking that fire is safe to play with ?
    Lemme tell you it ain’t safe to play with; and you should make sure your kids learn that early; and putting the kibosh on fireworks is not the way to do that. I can specially recommend that you should not run into the middle of a burning haystack; and if you do; make sure it isn’t built around the goal post hole.

  31. This isn’t news down here in San Diego where several annual fireworks displays have been cancelled due to lawsuit from environmental groups claiming the fireworks pollute the water.
    Of course they don’t have any data to prove fireworks cause water pollution. Instead, the groups that put on the displays must prove they don’t pollute in order to get a permit. Between fighting the lawsuits and doing the required environmental studies most groups simply can’t afford it and give up.

  32. Max says:
    November 16, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    8. We spent hours building go carts out of scraps and then went top speed down the hill, only to find we forgot the brakes.

    Loved that one particularly as we used to ride down the hill next to our house as fast as we could, then turn into the driveway, scrubbing off speed by sliding whilst turning.
    Brakes were for sissies!
    We used to hold bangers & count seconds before throwing them so they would be sure to be an airburst too. Silly I know & even had one go off in my hand but it was a cannon, (the cannon had a very thick shell & was only filled for half its length), so that was OK. did make me think a little & throw after 4 seconds instead of 5. 😉
    DaveE.

  33. Myron Mesecke wrote:
    “You can have my Sparkler when you pry it from my cold, dead hand.”
    I’m with Myron, there’s a line in the sand and it shouldn’t be crossed!

  34. Add to the growing list of bad inventions:
    Fireworks (flash powder – China)
    TNT (DuPont)
    Gunpowder (Roger Bacon)

  35. Life is fatal. Live with it!
    I think the Island of Madeira takes the prize.

    (Can you count how many times she says wow?)

  36. “Studies” show that the exhalations from large, highly trained athletes contain more CO2 per outbreath than those of normal spectators.
    Ban the Olympics!

  37. Anyone looking at my previous post might say, “that’s why we shouldn’t allow kids to have fireworks!”
    Believe it or not, even as 7 & 8 year olds, we had it worked out! Penny bangers had unreliable fuse lengths, just good enough to light, wait for the fizz & drop down the drain. Plus, there wasn’t enough margin in the case so if it went off prematurely you’d be hurt. The cannon was much higher quality in all respects & cost tuppence. Bigger bang by better design. We actually knew why! We knew it would be safer too because in the case of premature explosion, you wouldn’t be in the line of the explosive gasses. We ‘knew’ it but until one actually did it, (sensibly), no-one would try it. Even after, that was a no no.
    DaveE.

  38. So those that suffer from asthma maybe should not be downwind from fireworks, depending on how much wind, etc. Did I get this right? Lot’s of thing people with asthma should not do unfortunately…… But they already know that!
    I know, because my brother suffered from it in his earlier years. I know better than to be downwind from any smoke and I don’t suffer from that condition – common sense.
    So now, this stuff gets legislated into law and then some of those in the protected group dye from other unrelated causes and accidents, 50 years “before their time”. What’s next?
    When are they going to get it? Life is a crap shoot people!!!!

  39. The amount of environmental damage posed by fireworks for opening/closing ceremoinies pales in comparison to the environmental damage done by jsut the IOC jetting around setting the thing up, not to mention the all the spectators traveling to the games.

  40. Hmmmmm, let me see – A) Japan’s evening summer skies are filled with fireworks and their attendant smoke. Displays last for an hour and a half or more and in some cases more than a million people are in attendance. B) Japanese have the world’s longest life span. I suspect there is no real problem here.
    The real problem is that smart people are asking stupid questions and being given lots of money to answer them. The inevitable answer is “we have a problem, Houston”. This then sets the clean-living crusaders off to find a regulatory “solution” to the pwessing pwoblem. Once the “solution” is in place, these smart people can then get back to the business of asking questions of even greater stupidity which provide answers even more idiotic than the previous round of stupid research.
    Meanwhile, real problems like disease, hunger, lack of sanitation and lack of opportunity fester around the world. But why worry about real problems when you can worry about fireworks instead?

  41. “Studies show this, studies show that.”
    I want to do a study that shows how reading too many studies spoils your life and causes cancer. I’m sure it’s true.
    Anyone remember how oat bran was going to save humanity? Hell, for a while there they were adding it to toothpaste.
    Science can be stupid just like anything else done by people. A hundred years ago, the consensus was that eugenics was a great idea and that tuberculosis was hereditary.

  42. Give me a break, this world has become a total nanny state. If all their complaints are valid, I should be dead by now.
    David A. Evans says:
    November 16, 2010 at 5:20 pm
    Does anyone remember “hold in the hand” Roman candles?

    That’s not how you’re suppose to do it? 😮

  43. If you outlaw fireworks, Only Outlaws Will Have Fireworks…
    and I’ll be one of them!
    Hey Kadaka – what do you want for that old can of calcium carbide?
    To every fireworks banning wimpy whiney eco-warming weenie out there,
    DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT SCREWING WITH MY 4TH OF JULY PARTIES!
    Yet another indication that the time for the villagers everywhere to gather with their pitchforks and torches and drive the Beast out is upon us….
    Hey! Do you suppose I could get funded to study the hazardous effects of pitchforks and torches on enviro-nazi health?? White Paper Title follows:
    “The Psychological, Epidermal, and Visceral Effects of Five Tined Farm Implements and Exothermic Brands, As Directly Applied to Modern EnvironMental Zealots And Their Acolytes.”
    I think a mere $500,000 US will suffice, for the first years study….

  44. I have a hypothesis that drinking many cans of Four Loko and playing with fireworks may be hazardous to one’s health. I don’t want to go out on a limb and create a premature panic or anything, so I propose this be studied in detail. Send lots of money, a few case of Four Loko, and a gift card to Crazy Steve’s Fireworks Emporium for about 10 Grand. I promise I’ll write down what I discover, and have someone else ‘peer review’ it. Honest.

  45. It has long been known that living is dangerous to your health, as the longer you live the more likely you are to die.
    Thus, to solve this problem we all need to stop living.

  46. I’ve had asthma for thirty-odd years. I find the sulfurous smoke from fireworks and from my black powder rifle to be soothing to my lungs and sinuses.. These people really need to get out more. And run with a better crowd.

  47. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    November 16, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    That reminds me, I need to check on an old can of calcium carbide that’s been left to rust in the often-damp basement.
    Never did get around to testing out that old miner’s lamp…

    Your CaC2 is likely all gone via CaC2 + 2 H2O -> C2H2 + Ca(OH)2. Those cans
    weren’t very air tight.
    I had a carbide lamp that I used caving in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. That’s gotta be all switched over to waterproof LED lights by now.
    A rather neat lamp. Acetylene burns with a lot of soot unless it’s well mixed with air and the nozzle on carbide lamps did that. A normally running lamp would have a 2 – 3 inch (5 – 7 cm) flame and would leave a good soot streak when it contacted almost anything. Still have it.
    In a steam tunnel at CMU (don’t tell anyone) I wrote “Emerald City ->” in soot pointing toward the steam plant. A dirty, hot, concrete tunnel is no yellow brick road!
    Calcium carbide is available, but since it reacts with water to make explosive gas, the hazmat shipping fees make it much less interesting. A couple places:
    http://www.karstsports.com/mingradcalca.html
    http://www.unitednuclear.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=16_17_69
    The latter site may ship small enough quantities to not need hazmat shipping.
    They also have pyrotechnic chemicals and other very neat stuff (that may be out
    of stock but is still interesting reading).

  48. Galactically stupid on so many levels I don’t know where to start …. banning fireworks ….. for gods sake … what next …. and if they are that worried about the CO2 maybe better not to have the Olympics at all ….. it reminds me a bit of the kind of concern people have for taking a couple of tylenols to cure the hangover … yes lets worry about the possible side effects of an over-the-counter painkiller … but forgetting about the pack of cigarettes and booze from the night before.

  49. David A. Evans says:
    November 16, 2010 at 5:20 pm
    > Does anyone remember “hold in the hand” Roman candles?
    One of the better “America’s Funniest Home Video’s” was a dog running around with a lit Roman candle trying to find someone to “throw the stick.” I hope the stupid humans learned a bit about fireworks safety.

  50. “Does anyone remember “hold in the hand” Roman candles?”
    I just bought some a couple of weeks ago in Wyoming for New Years eve. You must live back East or in some other Communist state like Kalifornia.

  51. Mike says:
    November 16, 2010 at 2:21 pm
    The scientists’ job is to assess the risks of various actions. It is up to us to decide what risks we wish to take. There is no point in demonizing the messenger.

    Yes, but: many studies are flawed. So no point in demonizing the messenger, but what if the messenger has his or her own agenda?

  52. “….. levels …… skyrocketed after the fireworks were launched.”
    Interesting choice of words. I predict this will all blow over after the smoke clears.

  53. David A. Evans says:
    November 16, 2010 at 5:20 pm
    Does anyone remember “hold in the hand” Roman candles?
    DaveE.

    Sparklers! Real ones that glowed red-hot and burned you if you held them wrong. (I know, I burned myself on them when I was young). Gawd, I miss those. I’ll have to homebrew some of those sometime…

  54. Now I’m going to be a goshdiddlydarned sparkler outlaw, and a fireworks caused climate Armageddon and human mass destruction skeptic too. Golly.. I never saw that one coming. Count me in with Myron & Many Mikes, you can have my sparkler…
    This is silly enough that we need to maybe alert the M4GW guys.

  55. being alive has a 100% fatality rate. the only way to prevent your death from being alive is to build a time machine and go back in time to prevent your birth…
    but then if you’re never born, who is going to stop your birth?
    I will require a large grant and several playboy bunny assistants to get to the bottom of this. I swear I will not rest until the answer is found.
    if you never hear from me again, you’ll know I was successful.

  56. I still have some hand held roman candles. The instructions say not to hold them in your hand. Bah. That’s the fun of it! ☺ 
    I also have a fireworks cube, about 10 inches on a side. It weighs about 5 pounds. The scofflaw label says: “California Illegal”☺ ☺ ☺ 
    I liked the label so much I cut it off and saved it. The cube detonates on New Year’s eve – if the roman candles don’t get me first.

  57. We all know that when we get a lot of people together, they can transmit communicable diseases. I guess they should simply cancel the Olympics or at least all events that take place indoors. What were they thinking having gatherings indoors, all of that recirculated air and germs flying around?
    Olympic torch? What torch? It’s now the Olympic LED! It only lights up when the sun charging the solar cell. NO battery, that would mean more chemicals!
    For that matter, we should cancel gatherings of all forms, ban the use of any chemical that ends up in the air even temporarily, and all candles and birthday cakes – the candles are dangerous and the calories contribute to obesity.
    Anybody know where to buy a carbon sequestration kit for a house chimney?
    When does the ban on fingernail polish kick in?

  58. These ‘researchers’ should take a junket to Shenyang, China during Spring Festival. Ten glorious days of non stop fireworks from 3 million families. Noise pollution, smoke pollution, buildings burn down, thousands injured yet the Chinese keep doing it year after year and that is just 1 city.
    LOL try banning fireworks there.

  59. I have loved playing with fireworks for more years than I can remember, lied about my age to buy them when 14. I have hurt myself once or twice but that didn’t stop me I learnt that they were the best toys in the world but would kill you if you didn’t keep your wits about you.
    Unfortunately many don’t grow up with them so when they get them as adults they don’t know what to do, even the instructions are in health and safetyeze and are hard to understand.
    As for the smoke it’s very hard to organise the weather (as Jones et al have found out) so you do get the smoke blowing all over the crowds, it would really be a problem only if you spent your life following firework displays like scientists measuring how harmful fireworks are to health?

  60. I suggest banning audiences from Olympic stadiums, and any other sporting events for that matter. Being in close quarters to crowds of people that might be sick can’t possibly be good for your health.

  61. Just a minute! as always there is a valid point in all of this if you can sift out the environmental rubbish.
    Many years ago I and a group of colleagues used to set display fireworks off as a business, but we decided to give up, because it became obvious to us there were breathing health hazards involved.

  62. Ric Werme says:
    November 16, 2010 at 7:27 pm
    One of the better “America’s Funniest Home Video’s” was a dog running around with a lit Roman candle trying to find someone to “throw the stick.” I hope the stupid humans learned a bit about fireworks safety.

    I saw that one, it was a dachshund, and everytime the candle fired the recoil made the dog skid sideways.

  63. “The effects in healthy people are still unknown, but common sense tells us it cannot be good to inhale the high levels of metallic particles in this smoke, even if this only happens a few times a year”
    ————–
    Whenever I hear or see the phrase “common sense” my idiot detector glows amber.
    Apart from wondering if it’s so common why is it so rare? I tend to translate it as “my prejudices and bogus assumptions say”.
    Basically the universe could not care less about common sense since it violates it on a regular basis.

  64. Sadly, New Zealand now has an over-supply of childrens’ playgrounds that remain in pristine condition. Not because a rash of good behaviour has broken out, but because the OSH brigade have rendered them so safe that little kids find them so boring that they avoid them. Kids of all ages need at least the impression of risk in their pursuits.
    What a dull, sanitized simulation of life is being forced upon the world by Jeremias pretending to be scientists.

  65. Robert says:
    November 17, 2010 at 3:11 am

    And here he is.
    ——–
    thanks 🙂 laughed till I cried:-)
    after this stupidity something was needed.
    Australia banned fireworks for all but commercial displays many years ago, amazing how the public still manage to obtain some regardless 🙂
    I attended a few of the big displays and never heard or saw of anyone having asthmas issues, hearing issues yes!

  66. When I was young, around Bonfire night we would nick the crow scarers from the local farmers’ fields. They were *much* more powerful than the bangers you got in the shops (which we were too young to buy anyway). I don’t recall them damaging our health all that much, but they used to make a big mess of the plastic plant pots people had in their front gardens. Happy days.

  67. “”””” Ric Werme says:
    November 16, 2010 at 7:27 pm
    David A. Evans says:
    November 16, 2010 at 5:20 pm
    > Does anyone remember “hold in the hand” Roman candles?
    One of the better “America’s Funniest Home Video’s” was a dog running around with a lit Roman candle trying to find someone to “throw the stick.” I hope the stupid humans learned a bit about fireworks safety. “””””
    Rick,
    No doubt that video was inspired by the ice fishing tale; where these chaps had driven their truck out to the middle of the lake, and then moved away a bit, and tossed a stick of dynamite to blow a hole in the ice. Obediently their dog ran and got the stick; whereupon they chased it yelling and screaming. So the dog ran for safety and hid under the truck !

  68. “”””” Norman says:
    November 16, 2010 at 6:44 pm
    I’ve had asthma for thirty-odd years. I find the sulfurous smoke from fireworks and from my black powder rifle to be soothing to my lungs and sinuses.. These people really need to get out more. And run with a better crowd. “””””
    Say Norman, that reminds me that when I was a young kid; and this would be early 1940s, one of the treatments I had for asthma(for an actual wheezing attack) involved taking a powder; that I can only describe as a yellowish grey, and putting it (level teaspoon) on a tin lid, and then igniting it with a match. It would slow burn, and put out a strong smelling smoke, and I would sit with my face down in that smoke, with a damp towel over my head forming a hood.
    I have no idea what that powder was; but if I had to guess from the appearance I would say it was a mixture of yellow sulphur and charcoal. Presumably there was no saltpetre in it; it simply smoldered like a cigarette ash. And as for sulphurous fumes; that would fit the general odor; and I have never found volcanic sulphurous fumes to be obnoxious assuming they were quite dilute. So long as it doean’t get too rotten eggy smelling, I always found it somewhat pleasant; and maybe soothing IS the right word. I’m sure that the tin lid used, was the actual lid of the squarish can, like a tea can, that the powder came in. An adult of course supervised the dose, and the ignition.

  69. “The metallic particles in the smoke emitted by fireworks pose a health risk”
    But much less health risk than the coal power plants spewing metals including radioactive metals into the air.
    If a nuclear power plant emitted as much radiation as a coal power plant, it would be shut down. Radioactive elements including uranium are naturally present in coal and spew into the air when it is burned.

  70. Indeed, are all those hot-footed athletes, producing all that CO2 by over-exertion, going to be taxed for their increased carbon footprint? I have long lobbied for a “joggers tax” as those who run produce more CO2 than those who lie around in bed all day.

  71. life is a death risk…all people who are alive risk death by being alive, the only real answer is to ban life in order to end death… OR let real people live and let …OK I CAN’T SAY it

  72. News: Fighting global warming by seeding the ocean with iron is a bad idea
    “UC Santa Cruz and Moss Landing Marine Lab scientists have found that toxic algae blooms are happening across the Pacific Ocean. These outbreaks were previously thought to only happen off the coast. Now it seems that some of the problem has come from seeding the ocean to promote the growth of algae. Even after twelve years, toxic plankton could be found in the sea water samples from the iron seeded areas.£
    http://green.blorge.com/2010/11/fighting-global-warming-by-seeding-the-ocean-with-iron-is-a-bad-idea/

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