Iowa DNR warns people about the health dangers of firework smoke


Drifting smoke can cause breathing problems for some people.

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) — Fourth of July is well known for all of the amazing firework displays that people love. However, the drifting smoke can cause breathing problems for some people.

“If your family or friends suffer from asthma or respiratory difficulties, it’s important for them to stay upwind, a safe distance from fireworks smoke,” says Brian Hutchins, Department of Natural Resources air quality supervisor. “The elderly and children are also vulnerable to higher levels of smoke.”

According to the Iowa DNR, when the air is stagnant and there is no breeze is when fine particles can get trapped towards the ground and can lead up to unhealthy levels. This is causing people with asthma or other respiratory problems to have trouble breathing.

The fine particles and gases found in smoke are hard on people’s lungs. The fine particles in the smoke from fireworks come from a black powder used to shoot off the fireworks skyward. The metals that are used to produce brilliant colors also causing the smoke.

Those that are unable to escape the areas of dense smoke should limit their activities outdoors and if they experience problems breathing, contact a health care provider.

The Iowa DNR wants to remind people to play it safe and properly and safely dispose of any unused fireworks.

Learn more about fine particles (PM2.5) and how firework displays can affect some people.

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