Lead, copper, HCB and heavy metals are amongst the particles which rain down on Iceland in great quantities on New Years Eve, and they do not dissipate after the fireworks are over, RÚV reports.
As many readers are aware, Icelanders are big fans of fireworks. For a few weeks each year, fireworks are sold to the general public, with much of the proceeds going to the rescue squad and the scouts. Fireworks are so popular, in fact, that Icelanders explode hundreds of tonnes of them on New Year’s Eve alone.
However, fireworks are not without consequence. People with respiratory illnesses are advised to stay indoors on New Year’s Eve, not least of all because fireworks do contain harmful materials such as lead, copper, and chrome, amongst other chemicals. As RÚV points out, fireworks contain heavy metals which are not dispersed by the wind. In fact, these metals seep into the ground and stay there long after the celebrations are over.
In a response to a question posted on The Science Web, Iceland’s premiere site for science-related questions from the general public, it is pointed out that while fireworks are being set off, the level of particles in the air reaches proportions that are comparable to a volcanic eruption – an occasion when people are usually advised to stay indoors with their windows closed.
If you do enjoy fireworks, you may want to do so from indoors, if you are particularly considered about your respiratory health. Either way, don’t let these sobering facts deter you from having a warm and joyous New Years.