Firecrackers and fireworks are a part of new year’s celebrations for many cultures, but there are health hazards that come with the festive celebration staples.
Is there a way for people to enjoy the fireworks and firecrackers in a safe manner?
Fireworks Health Hazards
In 2017, over 50 percent of injuries related to fireworks were related to burns, 31 percent of which were injuries to the hands and fingers while 22 percent were injuries to the head, face, and ears. Apart from burns, however, there are other health hazards that people may experience, particularly among the more vulnerable.
During fireworks displays, suspended particulate matters (SPM), carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and sulfur dioxide in the air increase to unprecedented levels. High SPM levels may cause eye, throat, and nose problems, and may lead to headaches as well as reduced mental sharpness.
Furthermore, it may have more severe effects in people with a nervous system, heart, or respiratory problems, and can cause trouble for people with allergies or a cough, and cause throat or chest congestion. It can also aggravate certain respiratory problems such as asthma, pneumonia, and allergic rhinitis.
The noise levels from fireworks may cause health problems as well. Fireworks can typically exceed noise levels of 145 decibels, and noise levels of 85 decibels can already cause hearing damage. Furthermore, high noise levels may also cause restlessness, high blood pressure, temporary or permanent hearing loss, and sleep disturbances.
Fireworks Safety Tips
First of all, it’s important to make sure that fireworks are legal in the state before purchasing them. When one does, it’s advisable to avoid buying fireworks in brown paper because those are typically meant for professional use and may pose a danger to its users.
Children must not be allowed to play with or ignite fireworks, and adults must supervise their children even when using simple sparklers as those can burn at 2,000 degrees which is hot enough to burn metals.
When using fireworks, it’s important to light fireworks one at a time, and to not re-ignite fireworks that did not burn completely. It’s also important to never stand directly over the fireworks when lighting the fuse and to move at a distance once it is lit up.
Keeping a bucket of water nearby is also a wise step just in case of emergencies, and it’s important to avoid inhaling the smoke from fireworks. Furthermore, it’s imperative to keep pets away from fireworks and to use fireworks in open areas to avoid the air pollution from building up in enclosed spaces, and the noise from bouncing off of buildings and other structures.