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Fireworks create pollution concern, says air quality experts

By Haley Smith | Posted - Jul 23rd, 2013 @ 12:43pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — Fireworks are abundant this time of year. What some may not consider though, are the effects the smoke from fireworks might have on physical health.

Air quality alerts in Salt Lake, Davis, Utah and Weber counties are in voluntary action because of concern over air pollution. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality says the use of personal fireworks could push air quality into the "unhealthy range".

The air quality around the Fourth of July spiked three times the federal health safety requirements. The 24th is set to follow the trend, according to the DEQ.

Donna Spangler, a spokesperson for the department, said the numbers are slated to move toward unhealthy levels. "I don't want to be a killjoy and say you can't do it, but if you think about it the fireworks do admit sulfur and other pollutants into the air," she said.

There are more than 300 thousand people living in Davis County alone. If everyone there lit even just a few fireworks air quality would take a hit, said Spangler. The soaring temperatures don't help the situation, as heat acts like an oven for pollutants. Heat creates a reaction in the air that make breathing more difficult, Spangler added.

Spangler suggests holding Pioneer Day celebrations in the earlier hours, as pollutants tends to increase throughout the day.

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