Diwali, the Festival of Lights in Indian Homes is synonymous with lamps, candles and fireworks as the people rejoice in the joy with loved ones. Being aware of high noise levels and air pollution during Diwali, let us have a look at the various toxic chemicals used in the fireworks.
Noticing colorful sparks in the sky always brings a smile on your face. But ever wondered what made these sparks colorful and how good are those sparks for the Environment? Creating firework colors is a complex process different colors are the results of different elements.
Major salts used for fireworks are
- Barium salts
- Calcium salts
- Potassium salts
- Sodium salts
- Lithium salts
- Strontium salts
- Copper salts
- Chromium salts
Toxic Element Fireworks Usage Toxic Effect of Fallout Dust & Fumes Aluminum brilliant whites Contact dermatitis, bioaccumulation Antimony sulfide glitter effects Toxic smoke, possible carcinogen Arsenic compounds Used as colorants. Sadly still out there. Toxic ash can cause lung cancer, skin irritation and wart formation. Barium Nitrate glittering greens Poisonous. Fumes can irritate respiratory tract. Possible radioactive fallout. Copper compounds blues Polychlorinated dioxins and dibenzofurans. Can bioaccumulate. Cancer risk. Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) Use was supposed to be banned globally. Persistent environmental toxin. Is a carcinogen, mutagen and a reproductive hazard. Lead Dioxide / Nitrate / Chloride oxidizer Bioaccumulation, developmental danger for kids & unborn babes, may remain airborne for days, poisonous to plants & animals Lithium compounds blazing reds Toxic and irritating fumes when burned Mercury (Mercurous chloride) chlorine donor Toxic heavy metal. Can bioaccumulate. Nitric oxide fireworks byproduct Toxic by inhalation. Is a free radical Nitrogen dioxide fireworks byproduct Highly toxic by inhalation. SIDS risk Ozone fireworks byproduct Greenhouse gas that attacks & irritates lungs Perchlorate –Ammonium & Potassium propellant / oxidizer Can contaminate ground & surface waters, can cause thyroid problems in humans & animals Potassium Nitrate in black powder Toxic dusts, carcinogenic sulfur-coal compounds Strontium compounds blazing reds Can replace calcium in the body. Strontium chloride is slightly toxic. Sulfur Dioxide gaseous byproduct of sulfur combustion Acid rain from sulphuric acid affects water sources, vegetation & causes property damage. SIDS risk.
Basic Principle behind these colors is Excitation and de-excitation of electrons present in the atoms of salts.
Celebrate eco-friendly Diwali