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Post Info TOPIC: What fireworks do to the environment

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What fireworks do to the environment

Firework Ingredients and their Dangers

Fireworks are composed of many different elements, each contributing to the noise, color or propellant. While these ingredients combine to form a beautiful spectacle, many of them are very dangerous. Heres a list of a few common firework ingredients, their use, and what makes them so dangerous.

Toxic Element Fireworks Usage Toxic Effect of Fallout Dust & Fumes

Lead Nitrate/Dioxide/Chloride oxidizer Bioaccumulation; developmental danger for children and the unborn; may remain airborne for days; poisonous to plants and animals

Barium glittering greens Extremely poisonous, radioactive

Lithium blazing reds Slightly toxic

Rubidium purple colors Slightly radioactive; can replace calcium in body

Strontium blazing reds Can replace calcium in body; can be radioactive

Copper compounds blues Dioxin pollution

Aluminum brilliant whites Contact dermatitis

Ammonium Perchlorate propellant Can contaminate ground and surface waters; can disrupt thyroid functions

Cadmium firework colors Extremely toxic, carcinogenic; can bioaccumulate

Potassium Nitrate in black powder Toxic dusts, carcinogenic sulfur-coal compounds

Sulfur Dioxide gaseous byproduct of sulfur combustion Acid rain from sulphuric acid affects water sources, vegetation and causes property damage

The Effects Fireworks have on You and Nature

The fallout of these different chemicals can affect you both directly and indirectly. Once a firework explodes in the sky, it does many things. The gases from the rocket and the explosion are released into the atmosphere, where they are inhaled by humans and animals, and hurt the ozone layer. In addition to the gases, the debris and burning metals fall back to earth where they litter the area, contaminate aquatic ecosystems, and poison the wildlife, eventually working their way up the food chain.

How Phosphorus in Fireworks Impacts the Water

It has taken years to determine the dangers associated with the many ingredients in fireworks. Up until very recently, phosphorous (also found in fertilizers) was highly popular in fireworks until the realization of its associated problems to the environment. Although most manufacturers no longer incorporate more than trace amounts of phosphorus in fireworks, every little bit added to a lake can influence water quality. Phosphorus accelerates a process called eutrophication, which is the process that results in increased biomass, decreased lake clarity, decreased bottom oxygen, and increases the likelihood of cyanobacteria scums. Algal and cyanobacteria blooms caused by phosphorus introductions impact fisheries, drinking water supplies and impact the health of people who recreate in the waters as well as pets and any animal that drinks these waters.

The Final Impact

Altogether the damaging effect fireworks have is overwhelming. They impact water quality by affecting the odor and taste of drinking water. On the economic side, excessive algal and cyanobacteria growth due to phosphorus or contamination due to firework fallout increases water treatment costs, degrades fishing and boating activities, and impacts tourism and property values. The cost of damage done to property, the litter and the effect upon both wildlife and human life is incalculable. The Department of Environmental Services urges you to consider the effects of fireworks and perhaps find an alternative to a problem that is only growing with time.


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Stephen Colbert v. Andrew Keen, online troll extraordinaire
Comedy Central
Watch this video. Better skewering than a shish kabob festival!

My colleague Tish Grier has joked that the fastest way to get traffic to your blog is to flame an A-list [blogger]. Thats the troll ethic in a nutshell.

Andrew Keen a consummate smarmy snobbish gadfly and author of The Cult of the Amateur definitely has his troll routine down pat. In fact, by peddling his ill-informed, poorly reasoned scorn for all things online, hes managed to piss a lot of people off (not just geeks) and sell a lot of books.

Hey, good for him. There are harder ways to make a living.

Last night, Keen was a guest on Comedy Centrals Colbert Report. Dont miss this video, its hilarious and telling. My favorite exchange:

Keen: The Internet is destroying our culture

Colbert: Doesnt the internet spread our culture? I mean I can go onto any old web site and get any old picture I like. Isnt that culture?

Keen: Thats stealing culture.

Colbert: But its still culture, though. I mean, the Nazis stole culture but it was still culture.

Keen: Its worse than that, its worse than stealing culture.

Colbert: Its worse than the Nazis? The internet is worse than the Nazis, thats what you just said sir.

Keen: Even the Nazis didnt put artists out of work.

Colbert: Tell that to Egon Schuler.

Note, though, that despite his avowed internet aversion Keen does have a blog. It even allows comments, to which Keen does not deign to respond.

(Thanks to Tom Vilot for the tip.)


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Post meta
This entry was written by Amy Gahran and posted on August 17, 2007 at 2:53 pm and filed under culture, fun stuff, video. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment(Latest is displayed first) or leave a trackback: Trackback URL

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