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Harmful Effects of Crackers & Fireworks

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i) The SPM (suspended particulate matter) levels rise to a large extent during Diwali.

  • It can cause throat, nose & eye related problems which can later develop into adverse health hazards.
  • It can lead to headaches & reduced mental acuity when it reaches the level of 100 ppm.
  • It has much more severe effects in people with heart, respiratory or nervous system disorders.
  • It can aggravate problem for people suffering from cold, allergies or coughs and can also cause congestion of throat & chest.

ii) Increase amount of noise has harmful effects on animals as well as humans. Standard decibel level for humans is 60 dB.
Increase in the decibel level can lead to:

  • Restlessness
  • Temporary or Permanent Hearing Loss
  • Fidgetiness
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Anger
  • Heart Attack
  • Sleep Disturbance
  • Impulsiveness
  • Can lead to withdrawal behaviour or hyperactivity in pregnant women, children & those suffering from respiratory problems.

iii) Fireworks can also cause health problems like:

  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Common Cold
  • Allergic Bronchitis
  • Bronchial Asthma
  • Sinusitis
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD)
  • Ephysema
  • Rhinitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Laryngitis

iv) It results in smog which can reduce visibility thereby leading to accidents as well as is toxic if inhaled.
- It is said that one big firecracker like “1000 walas” and “hydrogen bombs” can produce up to 250 cc of smoke.
- It can also cause water contamination and acid rains.
- It results in air pollution that creates carcinogenic sulphur compounds and airborne arsenic effect.

v) Use of “rockets” near houses gives rise to many injuries each year. There is no law pertaining to the same.

vi) Harmful effects of fireworks displays:
- Green light produced in fireworks displays comes from Barium that is radioactive and poisonous.
- Blue colour produced from copper compounds comes from dioxins linked to cancer.
- Different effects are produced by using different chemicals that are linked to a host of health and respiratory problems as mentioned in table below.

vii) Harmful effects of various chemicals & substances contained in crackers & fireworks are as mentioned in the table below:

Harmful effects of Chemicals & Substances contained in Crackers & Fireworks

S.No. Name Effect
1. Cadmium (in crackers, pots (anars), wires) If cadmium is inhaled, ingested or enters the body through intravenous, intraperitoneal or intra-muscular routes, it can lead to anaemia and can even damage kidneys, increase blood pressure and can cause a disease called “Itai-Itai” that can make bones brittle leading to fractures. It is also a potential human carcinogen.
2. Lead Highly toxic fumes are emitted when lead is heated. Lead can be really poisonous causing irritation, affect the central nervous system, cause lung cancer and kidneys cancer. It may act as a metabolic poison & enzyme inhibitor in its inorganic form. Lead exposure can also cause mental retardation and temporary damage to brain in young children.
3. Magnesium (found in higher quantity than other metals) Ingestion of Magnesium can be poisonous. Inhalation of magnesium dust & fumes can cause metal fume fever & deterioration of central nervous system. Particles can produce gas blebs and gas gangrene when embedded in the skin.
4. 4 acidic radicals: Nitrate, Nitrite, Phosphate, Sulphate Oxides of sulphur & phosphorous are extremely corrosive & acidic.
5. Carbon Monoxide It is an extremely poisonous gas. Being odorless it can’t be detected by sensory system. It combines readily with oxygen & even low level of concentration can have ill effects on health.
6. Copper It can lead to irritation in respiratory tract if inhaled.
7. Manganese Manganese dust and fumes can be toxic for humans. It is an experimental mutagen and carcinogen. The exposure to manganese has symptoms of sleepiness, paralysis, weakness, emotional disturbance, sleep disturbance, languor, spastic gait etc.
8. Potassium It can lead to a fire or explosion if confined.
9. Sodium It can lead to fire when exposed to moisture & heat. It is highly reactive with moisture in its elemental form & can have an adverse affect on the living tissue. If it is heated in air, it produces toxic fumes of sodium oxide.
10. Zinc It is not so toxic if inhaled, but can cause skin irritation, effect pulmonary system & stimulates vomiting at an exposure of about 150mg of zinc. It also produces fumes on burning.
11. Nitrogen Oxide Oxides of nitrogen are extremely corrosive & acidic. Being less soluble it penetrates into lungs through smaller airways. They reduce intake of oxygen by destroying the linings of respiratory surface causing allergies, asthma etc.

References:

India Together

Toxics Link

Wikipedia

Thestar.com

http://environment.about.com/od/healthenvironment/a/toxicfireworks.htm

http://www.berr.gov.uk/fireworks/law.htm

http://www.fireworks.com/fireworks_laws/

http://www.lycos.com/info/fireworks-pyrotechnic–united-states.html

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