Friday, July 04, 2008

4th Redux

I know there are many more readers here now than their were two years ago and there is so much content on this blog that I doubt anyone goes back and reads the archives when the decide to become a daily reader. With this said, today I will republish a 4th of July article I did here back in 2006 in the event you missed it.

A few years ago I attended a 4th of July party at the home of a friend in Astoria. She has a wonderful view of the river from a large deck. It was a perfect place for the 20 of us to view the Astoria fireworks.

Fireworks are special because you don’t see them every day unless you work at Disney Land. People have a certain reverence for things that don’t come around every day like fireworks, watermelon, the first frost, the first robin of spring, the first smell of autumn in the air…

The fireworks event was at the climax and the smoke in the sky was glowing with different colors as each burst of explosion flashed. The final explosion sent tendrils of glowing red, white and blue flames towards the river like the slowly moving branches of a weeping willow in the breeze.

It was at that moment a person standing next to me said, “just think of all the heavy metals they just added to the river.” Oh man, again something so innocent becomes sinister. Gone are the days when one could eat a hot dog, stand in the back seat of a convertible while it was being driven, or walk through a field in deer tick country. Is nothing safe and easy any more?

I have to admit that I no longer enjoy the visual uniqueness of the summer time light show because of this. I think about the sturgeon eaters eating the toxic tissue of the fish that inadvertently consumed a feast laced with heavy metals we put in the river. It is truly a wonder our life spans aren’t decreasing due to our own stupidity.

OK, I’m a kook, and you only believe what you read from a reliable source. Try this from

Fireworks produce smoke and dust that contain heavy metals, sulfur-coal compounds and other toxic chemicals. These by-products of fireworks combustion will vary depending on the mix of ingredients of a particular firework. (Green color, for instance, is produced by adding barium, a highly noxious heavy metal.) These variables include the amount of gunpowder used, type of oxidizer, colors produced, and launch method.

Pollutants from fireworks raise concerns because of potential health risks associated with the hazardous by-products. For most of us the effects of exposure to low levels of toxins over a long period of time are unknown but for persons with asthma or multiple chemical sensitivity the smoke from fireworks may aggravate existing health problems. Environmental pollution is also a concern because heavy metals and other chemicals from fireworks can contaminate water supplies and because fireworks combustion gases can contribute to such things as acid rain which can cause vegetation and even property damage. Because of the pollution some countries are against the use of fireworks, yet many events are populated with the use of fireworks around the world. In the US some states and local governments restrict the use of fireworks in accordance with the Clean Air Act which allows laws relating to the prevention and control of outdoor air pollution to be enacted.

Happy 4th every one!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh great...another pee on the Corn Flakes. Remember Guy...we are risk takers from the generation that were born to mothers who smoke or drank while they were pregnant. We were put to sleep on our tummies in bright lead paint covered crib - no childproof lids on medicine bottles, no helmets for riding our bikes. We hitchiked and rode in cars with no seat belts and the only air bag was your buddies mother. Drank water from a garden hose, shared a soft drink with four friends and no one actually died from eating mud pies or worms. Ate cup cakes, real butter, white bread and Kool Aid made with sugar. We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth with no resulting lawsuits. We got BB guns for our tenth birthday and not that many eyes were poked out. Parents actually sided with the law when we were busted and the last 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We are survivors! So come on...suck it up...a little heavy metal never hurt anyone. Take a chance...enjoy the fireworks!


5:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worry about what's come and will continue to come from Hanford. The rest is small potatoes.
Kook eh? Have you seen this?

7:27 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Moose, don't forget about riding in the back of the station wagon without seatbelts with the back window rolled down. Childseats? Never had 'em.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Mike S said...

Since Old Indian has a top floor balcony directly across from the ski slope where they put the launchers, he's gonna sit out there eating hot dogs & water melon with ice cold ale with a front row seat to the polluting things. With all the other huge pollution producers, a once a year show is acceptable to me. Happy 4th!!:)

12:34 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Funny thing was that I wanted to get out of town with the horses because we now have neighbors that love making explosive noise which freaks the horses out. We were 40 miles outside of civilization and we could still hear the fireworks from Astoria and Seaside.

5:59 AM  
Blogger weese said...

I am good with the town run fireworks - i just wish every single other person in the world didn't buy them at walmart and shoot them off ALL summer.
it is soooo irritating.

9:18 AM  

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