Sheriff’s Office

Fireworks May Impact Air Quality

4th of July Fireworks May Impact Air Quality

Each year we celebrate our national birthday with colorful bursts of black powder - fireworks displays are a traditional method of celebrating Independence Day on the 4th of July.

These pyrotechnical displays provide brilliant light shows each Independence Day, but they also cause spikes in air pollution levels that may affect the health of some individuals. The Polk County Air Quality Division has noticed elevated levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution at some of its monitoring stations during previous Independence Days celebrations.

Under the right meteorological conditions, the emissions from fireworks displays can be trapped near the ground and build up to unhealthful levels. The smoke from fireworks displays generally dissipates within a few hours, but individuals with asthma or other respiratory conditions may be impacted during that time. Fireworks smoke is made of small dust particles and other pollutants that can aggravate respiratory diseases.

  • People who are susceptible to air pollution should view these displays from a safe distance or from a vantage point upwind of the fireworks and take precautions to reduce their exposure to elevated levels of fine particulate matter pollution.

A 2007 rule by the EPA classified fireworks displays into the category of “exceptional events,” one that is “not reasonably controllable or preventable.”

Polk County encourages all residents to have a fun, but safe and healthful, 4th of July Holiday.

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Phone: (515)-286-3705
Fax: (515)-286-3437
Operating Hours: 7am - 4:30pm / M-F
5885 NE 14 Street
Des Moines, IA 50313