Fireworks contain Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic chemicals (PBTs) like copper, lead, perchlorate, and lithium to create their effects and remain on firework debris. PBTs remain in the environment for very long periods of time, are highly resistant to degradation, easily enter and quickly accumulate in the food chain and can be toxic to both humans and animals.
– Please pick up firework debris. Let spent fireworks sit only until they’re not longer hot or burning then move them to a bucket with water.
– Water used to soak spent fireworks should be flushed in a toilet so the water can be treated at the wastewater treatment plant. Please do not pour the water down the gutter or on the lawns to avoid contaminating ground and water with PBTs.
– Sweep small firework particles and put them in a plastic bag for disposal in the trash. The particles are prone to travel in the wind or in water runoff spreading PBTs to soils and waterways.
Enjoy the Fourth of July fireworks. And please take time to carefully sweep firework launch and debris landing areas and properly dispose of the debris afterwards.
Perchlorate, a compound used as an oxidizing agent in fireworks (i.e., fuel to make the firework burn), persists in soil and water.
How persistent? Well, Mt. Rushmore National Memorial’s firework shows stopped in 2009. In a 2016 US Geological Survey high levels of perchlorate were still reported in the park – 38 micrograms in a groundwater sample and 54 micrograms/liter in a stream, both in excess of the EPA’s 15 micrograms per liter, and 274 times higher than samples taken outside the memorial park’s borders.
We wish you a Happy Fourth of July.
Here’s some water tips to keep the holiday fun and enjoyable.
1. Stay hydrated to avoid heat illness.
2. Be a safe swimmer.
3. Practice safe boating
4. Soak spent fireworks before disposing.
5. Have fun!
Photo © Creative Commons Zero (CC0)