Fireworks displays, ranging from professional shows to family events, all have something in common: They can produce unhealthy amounts of smoke.
The fine particles in fireworks smoke contain an abundance of metals and chemicals that can make it more toxic than other forms of smoke, state Department of Ecology officials warned in advance of July 4 celebrations.
Breathing the fine particles in fireworks smoke can cause or contribute to a variety of serious short-term or long-term health problems. They include lung inflammation; increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and asthma attacks; and reduced lung function.
Clean air agencies in the Puget Sound region have documented significant spikes in air pollution during and immediately after fireworks shows and displays.
Air-monitoring stations in Pierce County consistently show air pollution spikes on July 4 and at least two days afterward, according to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
The agency’s monitors on the Tacoma Tideflats and in South Tacoma show fine particulate pollution climbing into the “moderate” zone on air-quality indexes. Air monitors in the Puyallup area show a far more dramatic spike, beginning about noon on the Fourth of July. There, the pollution climbs well into the “unhealthy zone.”
Officials recommend that people with heart and respiratory problems avoid areas of heavy fireworks smoke. People who are especially sensitive should stay indoors with the windows closed.John Dodge: 360754-5444
Staff writer Rob Carson contributed to this report.