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Fireworks and Air Quality
Celebrations may elevate air-pollution levels

Officials at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District are reminding Valley residents that July 4 fireworks can temporarily increase air pollution and to take appropriate cautionary measures, as individual health conditions dictate.

“During prime time for fireworks displays (9-10 p.m. the July 4th evening), we usually see increases in levels of particulate pollution,” specifically, particles 10 microns and smaller (PM10) and even tinier particles (PM 2.5), said Shawn Ferreria, air-quality analyst for the Air District.

Although these levels typically dissipate by midnight, elevated pollution levels can last until morning, depending on meteorological conditions.

Particle pollution of 10 microns and smaller may be harmful to people with heart or lung disease, and children and elderly people are also more susceptible to consequences of high particulate levels. Residents of the eight-county air basin should keep their own health conditions in mind when viewing neighborhood fireworks displays or attending large fireworks shows. Residents should contact their local government agency (either city or county) to determine the legality of fireworks in their area. Children, elderly people and people with existing health conditions are especially susceptible to harmful health consequences of exposure to high levels of particulates. People with heart or lung diseases should follow their doctors’ advice for dealing with episodes of unhealthy air quality.

The Valley Air District covers eight counties including San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and the valley portion of Kern. For more information call the nearest District office: Modesto (209) 557-6400, Fresno (559) 230-6000 and Bakersfield (661) 392-5500.