Valley air officials warn of spike in poor air quality during Fourth of July celebrations

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The explosions draw cheers but Fourth of July fireworks also cause a spike in air pollution, especially with elevated ozone levels and high heat. (KFSN)

Across the Valley on Monday and Tuesday, fireworks will fill the air at public shows in many rural communities.

Some people recommend those shows rather than the safe and sane fireworks you can buy and light up in your neighborhood.

Air Pollution Control District officials say that during the Fourth of July, the Valley's already poor air quality worsens. The district and a Fresno allergist say several factors will make you cough and wheeze.

The explosions draw cheers but Fourth of July fireworks also cause a spike in air pollution, especially with elevated ozone levels and high heat.

Valley Air District officials prefer you catch the big shows instead of lighting your own at home.

"When you add personal fireworks to the mix, we see, typically on Fourth of July, a huge spike in particulate matter in between the hours of 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., and it's about four to five times higher than the health-based standard," Cassandra Melching with the group said.

That's not what non-profit groups who run booths to make money want to hear. But the safe and sane fireworks many families enjoy produce particulate matter which sits over the neighborhood.

"The air is stagnant," Dr. A.M. Aminian said. "We have fire smoke out there."

Two wildfires burning in Mariposa and near Coalinga are adding soot and ash to the bad air. Fresno allergist Dr. Aminian reminds us even barbecues contribute to breathing problems.

He expects a 20 percent increase among patients with chronic respiratory problems.

"Even when you're in the pool," he said. "But when you bring your head out of the water, you'll get the same particulate matters in your lungs."

Car exhaust is another factor with so many people hitting the road for the holiday. Dr. Aminian advises you try to stay indoors during the hottest time of the day.

"We have to make sure that we drink plenty of liquids," Aminian said. "We have to make sure we stay away from the barbecue smoke."

If you have breathing issues, keep your windows closed at night because that's when all that particulate matter from the fireworks will be settling.

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healthair qualityfresnohealthFresno
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