According tonew research published online in the journal Particle and Fiber Toxicology , led by researchers at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, fireworks damage human cells and animal lungs .
Along with lead, titanium, strontium, and copper are commonly found in fireworks.
The study shows harmful levels of lead in two of the 12 types of fireworks available on the market. They found that toxic metal levels were higher in samples taken around Independence Day and New Year’s Eve celebrations than at any other time of the year.
The authors note that their study is the first to examine the effects of fireworks exposure on human cells and living animals. According to the study’s lead author, Terry Gordon , a professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine at NYU Langone Health:
While many are careful to protect themselves from blast injuries, our results suggest that inhaling fireworks smoke can cause long-term damage, a risk that has been largely ignored. Although people are only exposed to these substances for a short time each year, they are far more toxic than the pollutants we breathe in every day.
Gordon and his team also analyzed 14 years of air quality samples taken at dozens of sites across the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) each year. The study collected emissions from a dozen commonly sold fireworks in the United States, which were detonated in a chamber in the laboratory .