Fireworks will be filling the sky tonight and while most people find them spectacular to view up close, for others, they can cause breathing problems.
Iowa DNR environmental specialist Chris Maiers says it’s a good idea to keep a safe distance. “We’re not saying ‘don’t go to any fireworks displays,’ it’s just be aware of your surroundings and try to avoid that blow off smoke coming toward you at the end or during the displays,” Maiers says. “That can really hinder the enjoyment…not only will it be difficult to breathe, it’ll be difficult to see too.”
An air pollution monitor in Davenport detected unhealthy levels of fine particles following last year’s Fourth of July fireworks display. Maiers says that’s something to consider when you’re deciding where to sit during the celebration.
“These actually have things like heavy metals in them because that’s what they burn to produce the colors and you really don’t want to breath that in…there’s all sorts of stuff in there that can make even healthy people have issues like coughing or even a little bit of chest pain,” Maiers says.
He suggests people with asthma or respiratory issues, children and the elderly should make sure to stay upwind and a safe distance away from the fireworks.
Reporting by Pat Blank, Iowa Public Radio