I love the fourth of July, otherwise known as Independence Day, but there comes a point when shooting off tons of gun powdered fueled pellets becomes, well, ridiculous. Five fireworks equals a whole show of them. What is it about the colorful bursts of powder in the sky that excites us humans? What is taken from this? Sure, it makes for a spectacular light show but at the end of the night, the only thing that really happened was pollution of the environment. The different colored fireworks contain metallic compounds that are known to cause problems in humans and animals and shoot off harmful substances into the atmosphere. Some common elements on the Periodic Table are what account for the different colored fireworks. Those aren’t just pretty colors.
Here’s something to consider the next time you look up at a fireworks show. It will make you realize the incredible science behind fireworks. I made this neat infographic:
Repeated exposure to these elements is known to cause some health issues, including cancer. Generally, you’re pretty safe at a fireworks show because of being so far away from the launch zone, but it’s best to know how to protect yourself. Don’t breath in the smoke if you can help it.
Now here’s a challenge for you: the next time you’re at a fireworks event, whether it be a local event or one of the big shows like the Boston Pops, try to name off the element associated with the color as they shoot off. It’s like a colorful musical with the elements as the notes.