Valley officials remind families of dangers fireworks pose to air quality, health

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's a tradition like no other -- fireworks on the Fourth of July.

But all those sparkling bursts of color also spew dangerous pollutants across our skies.

"We really recommend that folks don't set off fireworks over the Fourth of July if they can avoid it," said Jaime Holt with Valley Air District.

Valley Air District officials say direct exposure to neighborhood fireworks can pose a health risk.

They see a spike in dangerous particulate matter every Independence Day, often four to five times higher than the federal standard.

Airborne particles can invade the bloodstream and get deep into a person's lungs.

"Some of the fireworks have toxins in them," Holt said. "They have toxic metals. What makes them so bright and colorful often is something that is really bad for your health."

The harmful effects of the use of personal fireworks can be avoided. Officials are encouraging families to support local professional Independence Day celebrations instead of lighting up their own.

"Usually about 10 (or) 11 o'clock on the Fourth of July we see a huge spike in pollution and we hear stories of people who end up in the ER because their asthma has flared up or their COPD has flared up," Holt said.

Officials admit the Valley's air quality is the best its been in years, but it could still take up to 48 hours after fireworks for healthy levels to return.
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