Some Fireworks Taken Off Icelandic Market Due To High Lead Concentrations - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Some Fireworks Taken Off Icelandic Market Due To High Lead Concentrations

Published December 20, 2018

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Varvara Lozenko

One brand of fireworks has been taken off the market after test results showed it contained dangerously high levels of lead, the Environment Agency of Iceland has announced. A poll taken last September shows that most Icelanders are in favour of stronger regulations on the sale and use of fireworks.

According to the results of tests the Agency conducted, there was an exceptionally high level of arsenic and lead in the air on New Year’s Day of this year. They conducted tests on 20 different types of fireworks sold in Iceland, to assess their chemical composition. All of them contained low levels of HCBs and mercury, with some containing slightly higher levels of arsenic.

Lead, however, was found in significant quantities in almost all of them, and the PEP International “family pack” of Roman candles was found to contain more than a thousand times the amount of lead of any other fireworks they tested. They have therefore been taken off the market.

Fireworks are only permitted in Iceland during special times of the year, New Years being one of them, when they are sold to private citizens, usually by the Rescue Squad. These fireworks are always polluting, which is compounded by the fact that they are very popular, with Icelanders exploding hundreds of tonnes of fireworks on New Years alone.

A poll taken last September shows that most Icelanders are in favour of stronger regulations on the sale of fireworks, and some people have called for an outright ban. That movement, while still small, is picking up steam.

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