Institute of Experimental Medicine CAS

Scientists from the Czech Academy of Sciences warn of toxic substances from fireworks

Published 30. 12. 2022


The New Year's Eve celebrations also include colourful fireworks and firecrackers. However, in recent years it appears how much negative impact they have on the environment. 

Scientists from the Czech Academy of Sciences warn of toxic substances from fireworks. Tons of them enter the air in one night. Some substances make fireworks burn and explode, others give them colour. Experts know many of them are harmful, but they are still legal. 

What's more, the smog from fireworks differs from ordinary fumes because it contains metallic elements such as strontium, barium and rubidium. These add colour to fireworks but are usually only found in nature deep underground. Living organisms can't process them. 

When the pyrotechnics burn out, the substances don't disappear. They disperse into tiny particles in the air. We breathe the smallest ones into our lungs. "Of course, particles and substances can enter individual organs and cells through the blood," explains Pavel Rössner, a nanotoxicologist from the IEM CAS. "They easily react with DNA, which carries genetic information, as well as with proteins and fatty components in cells. Not every molecule can repair itself." 

The full interview with RNDr. Pavel Rössner, Ph.D. - Head of the Department of Nanotoxicology and Molecular Epidemiology, can be found on the Czech Radio website.


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