Alternatives to Toxic Fireworks

Being an environmentalist can be a drag sometimes. You can't drive a big SUV, you can't set your air conditioning at 68 degrees and now you can't play with fireworks on the 4th of July. The last one almost seems un-American. Lucky for us, there are plenty of fun alternatives to fireworks for your celebration.

You may not know it, but the smoke and dust from a fireworks show contains dangerous metals, sulfur-coal compounds and other toxic chemicals. The blue color that appears is not just patriotic, it may cause cancer because it is made of copper with dioxin, a carcinogen. The fun popping and snapping you see is the result of cadmium, lithium and potassium nitrate, all of which may cause respiratory and other health defects. In addition to the personal health threats posed by fireworks is the environmental threats caused by dangerous chemicals raining down into our lakes and rivers.

There is a silver lining on fireworks' future. Disney is currently experimenting with a new launching technique that would rely on pressurized air instead of gun powder to launch their fireworks. This wouldn't reduce all the toxicity, but its a step in the right direction.

Until Mickey is able to create organic fireworks, we're going to have to find a greener alternative to our traditional fireworks show. Here are a few suggestions: a bonfire, noise makers, confetti, a laser show, a parade, a pinata, or a block party.

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