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Some consumer fireworks emit high levels of lead and other toxins, new research finds | Health

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As for the safety of fireworks, parents may warn their children not to get too close.

The study analyzed 12 retail fireworks and found that 5 out of 5 emitted particle emissions that could damage human cells and the lungs of animals.

Terry Gordon, a researcher and professor of environmental medicine at Grossman School of Medicine in New York University, consumers often forget about the toxins released.

“You and your family are launching a lot of fireworks, and you’re doing it safely as far as your physical injuries, but people ignore them breathing high levels of toxic metals. Gordon said.

Studies have shown that toxins come from different metals in fireworks, turning them into different colors. For example, blue fireworks may be made of copper and red fireworks may contain strontium, the study said.

Gordon said his study did not analyze whether certain colors emitted more toxic metals than others. However, certain types of firecrackers had low toxicity levels. “The firecrackers contained a very high level of aluminum,” Gordon said. “In terms of toxicity, they were very low.”

Lead emissions

His experiment consisted of launching consumer fireworks in a stainless steel chamber, pumping particles out, and then exposing human cells and mice to the particles.

During the investigation, Gordon said he found two fireworks emitting lead particles. According to the study, one of them was 10 times more damaged than the control.

According to Gordon, the fireworks emitted a very high amount of lead particles, 40,000 ppm. Normally, no lead should be released, he said.

of American Fireworks Standard Institute It is an independent non-profit organization that sets voluntary standards for American fireworks. Gordon said the lab does not catch everything while testing fireworks to make sure they are safe.

“Despite the fireworks import and safety requirements at the institute, it’s not large enough to capture all the fireworks that should be illegal,” Gordon said.

AFSL Executive Director John Rogers said his organization will randomly sample fireworks crates because the group does not have the ability to test all crates. His team works at a Chinese factory to ensure that the fireworks meet not only federal standards, but also AFSL’s own voluntary standards.

For example, federal regulations require a ball-of-shell effect diameter not to exceed 1.75 inches, but according to Rogers, AFSL mandates additional safety requirements.

“We are talking about the height they need to enter the air, what the maximum burst radius is, and their nature,” Rogers said.

According to Rogers, AFSL oversees 85-90% of the fireworks shipped from China to the United States. In testing, Rogers said his team typically does not find the presence of lead in samples.

Potential impact: respiratory problems

Gordon said his study did not investigate the effects of these toxins, such as lead, on the body, but could lead to respiratory problems.

“I was able to assume that people, especially susceptible people like asthma, could increase episodes,” Gordon said.

Particles can also adversely affect a child’s respiratory system, according to Dr. Christine Van Hook, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics section on childhood lung and sleep medicine. She encouraged her children to avoid standing in the smoke of fireworks.

“Adults should launch fireworks and stay upwind and let the smoke blow in the breeze,” Van Hook said.

She said she saw cases of children with asthma who had to go to the emergency room after inhaling smoke from the fireworks display. Van Hook recommended that children be exposed to fireworks smoke for a limited time and carefully monitored for signs of dyspnea.

Gordon says he wants to experiment in humans at a fireworks show to see the effects of particles on the body in real time, but before he faced challenges that were difficult to test. Specifically, the wind direction changes, making it difficult to know where to stand, Gordon said.

“I put the sampler downwind because the wind was blowing in a certain way,” Gordon said. “When the time came, it was the wrong direction.”

Gordon advised for the family that they should be aware of what the children were exposed to and try to keep everyone downwind around the fireworks. He added that the fireworks industry needs to have more safety regulations.

“Given what we found, I suggest it…they make sure they are importing safer fireworks, and that’s what consumers use.” Gordon said.

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