J51.1 Oh Say Can You Breathe? The Impact of Fireworks on Air Quality in the United States

Thursday, 11 January 2018: 10:30 AM
412 (Hilton) (Austin, Texas)
Perry J. Samson, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; and J. Masters

The celebration of Independence Day, July 4, in the United States often reopens a debate about the inhalable particle load added to the atmosphere during the fireworks display and its potential impact on human health. This paper reviews hourly PM2.5 data from across the United States to identify the magnitude of increase in particulate matter during and after the evening of July 4. Data is drawn from state air quality measurements as well as an independent network available from PurpleAir.org.

Results indicate widespread increases in particulate concentrations with increases varying across the country from negligible to almost 300 µg/m3 in Chicago, Illinois. About 80% of all sites saw a doubling of particulate matter during the evening of July 4th with several sites producing hourly concentrations in excess of 150 µg/m3. The paper explores the combination of atmospheric conditions and location at both the monitors with the greatest and least rise in PM2.5 concentrations and offers the observations as an interactive web site where the public can view how concentrations were affected in their locale.

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