Media Contact: Mark Sulzbach, (651) 296-7768
Fireworks around the fourth of July have become as common as mosquitoes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. And like mosquitoes, a few are okay, but too many may cause problems.
Unfortunately, fireworks cause a sharp increase in poor air quality, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), but depending on the wind it may not last long.
Cassie McMahon, air quality specialist for the MPCA's air monitoring unit, said, "We see a spike in fine particle pollution every July 4th that can make our air quality jump to unhealthy for all levels - for several hours in areas close to fireworks displays."
The MPCA wants to encourage the public to be aware of the air pollution issue and to have a safe holiday. Young children and older adults are two groups that are likely to feel the effects of higher levels of fine particles. Anyone with respiratory problems such as asthma and chronic bronchitis, or cardiovascular and heart problems, should limit their exposure to the smoke and pollution from fireworks.
Watching displays from greater distances will help allow pollutants to disperse. Or watching from positions that are upwind rather than downwind will also help reduce exposure.
For more air quality information visit the MPCA Web site at: http://aqi.pca.state.mn.us/.