Study: Fireworks increase pollution by 42 percent

From the Department of Nothing is Sacred:

A new study (pdf) from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration claims that Fourth of July fireworks increase pollution by 42 percent, the Washington Post reports.

The study, using data from air monitoring stations (including the Twin Cities) over a 14 year period, found the concentrations of “fine particulate matter” on July 4 peaked around 10 p.m., and didn’t drop until noon the next day.

“The study is … another wake up call for those who may be particularly sensitive to the effects of fine particulate matter,” said Dian Seidel, study lead author.

The worst area appears to be the District of Columbia, where fireworks caused a 400 percent increase in pollution, according to the study. (Update: DC is not the worst area. The percentage increase was high, but the actual particulate matter reading was relatively small — below EPA standards, in fact. The amount of pollution was much higher in other areas.)

The study also found that the amount of pollution doesn’t seem to be affected by whether July 4 falls on a weekend (as it does this year) or a weekday, even though other pollution might be higher during weekdays than on weekends.

  • Matthew Becker

    Also the amount of cowering dogs increases by at least 1000%.

    • boB from WA

      Don’t forget cats…

  • jon

    “Celebrate the independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it.”


  • Gary F

    Thanks for reminding me, need to go to Sconnie tomorrow.

  • Gary F

    Sure it’s not the baked beans and improperly refrigerated potato salad?

  • MrE85

    My friends at MPCA have been telling me this for years. Fireworks related pollution is particularly bad during the New Year holiday in Hawaii, where many people fire off fireworks (a common New Year’s practice in Asia).

  • Postal Customer

    And it never seems to be able to rain that day.

  • MrE85

    Drafting legislation banning them as we speak. (I kid, I kid!)

  • Leo_Pusateri

    Joyless, joyless, joyless people in our world.

  • MrE85

    UDPATE: I’ll be on KARE-11 today, talking about this. Someone in Golden Valley must read NewsCut.