State leaders warn air quality will worsen during Fourth of July firework celebrations

SALT LAKE CITY – Fireworks can add a spark to our fourth of July celebrations, but state health leaders warn the smoke can pollute our air and make things worse for sensitive groups.

“When you’re lighting off fireworks, all that smoke mixed with the high temperatures in the ozone is really setting it up for very unhealthy conditions,” said Donna Kemp Spangler, spokesperson for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

Smoke from fireworks can push air quality well into unhealthy categories. Spangler says that’s because it produces tiny particulates into the air.

Spangler is cautioning people with heart or lung disease and respiratory conditions to limit exposure to fireworks. Children and the elderly are at risk as well. The risk is highest on the Fourth of July and the day after.

“If you think about it, the children who are holding those sparklers, they`re actually breathing in that particulate pollution so it`s not a healthy thing for them,” said Spangler.

Health challenges could persist with more triple digit temperatures on tap this week.

“If we keep building on the same pattern of hot temperatures and high ozone levels, particulate pollution from the fireworks and smoke then it could be unhealthy for everyone,” said Spangler.

Your best bet Spangler says is to let the professionals handle the fireworks.