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Working Towards an Eco-Friendly Fireworks Display

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the patriotism-through-making-things-explode dept.

Earth 110

phobos13013 writes "Here's an article just in time for 4th of July fireworks shows! The ACS's Chemical and Engineering News provides a fairly technical discussion about the hazardous chemicals in modern fireworks displays. Perchlorate is currently the oxidizer of choice in fireworks, but it is also known to be a thyroid blocker. Since perchlorates are water-soluble anions, they dissolve into groundwater quickly. A study performed last summer over a lake in Ada, Oklahoma showed that less than a day after a fireworks display, the lake's chlorate levels jumped by a factor of 1,000. It took weeks for the levels to drop back down to their baseline. On the other hand, heavy metals are used to produce the pretty colors typically associated with the best fireworks. The trend is to start using nitrogen-based oxidizing fireworks; they produce less smoke, which means a smaller amount of colorizing agents can be used in displays."

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Really? (4, Funny)

NuclearError (1256172) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063445)

Just in time? I just finished burning all of my fireworks. Maybe in time for next year...

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

crossmr (957846) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063479)

I was thinking that it wasn't "just in time" but instead a moment of opportunity because the rest of the year no one would care.

Earth to US, Earth to US, do you read me? (0, Flamebait)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063881)

Hello, there are 195 countries in the world. The United States is ONE of them.

Re:Earth to US, Earth to US, do you read me? (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063931)

hello, I'm not American, don't live in America (quite far away from it) and the article specifically addresses the closeness to July 4th, the American holiday.

Re:Earth to US, Earth to US, do you read me? (1)

The FNP (1177715) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064259)

Yeah, well the ACS is the American Chemical Society. Therefore, it's gonna focus on *American* chemical usage. So yes, I'd say this is a good use of their time.

--The FNP

Re:Earth to US, Earth to US, do you read me? (1)

wonnage (1206966) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064251)

Sorry about your inferiority complex.

Re:Earth to US, Earth to US, do you read me? (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064279)

You could live in US or one of its territories, and therefore have a more positive understanding of America-centric articles, if you answer the following two questions correctly: Where are you from? Do you have oil?

Re:Earth to US, Earth to US, do you read me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24064325)

Pfft.

The best one.

Re:Earth to US, Earth to US, do you read me? (1)

Dunega (901960) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065469)

If you don't like the article, or don't think it applies to you. Then don't read it.

Re:Earth to US, Earth to US, do you read me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065475)

Hello, there are 195 countries in the world. The United States is ONE of them.

And the most important one. We put up a fence to keep people OUT. Your country probably has a wall to keep people IN.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24064123)

And nobody cares on the 4th either.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24063865)

By 'just in time' the article probably means 'we're setting ourselves up for the dupe we'll post in 364 days.'

Fireworks drive away evil spirits (3, Insightful)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063485)

Fireworks drive away evil spirits, so, you know, really, the more poisonous the better.

Re:Fireworks drive away evil spirits (1, Insightful)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063855)

Just in... military works towards real intelligence...

The only real eco friendly fireworks are the ones that we dont use. Seriously, celebrating indepd

I remember... (1)

LordAlced (1279598) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063495)

The Philippines keeps on hosting the the Pyro-Olympics, maybe the heavy metals make them more agreeable each time they're asked to do so.

Biodegradable bullets is next (0, Troll)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063497)

I think that the lead in bullets is poisoning the land where too many people are being shot and more attention should be applied to having a bullet that doesn't use heavy metal. /sarcasm

Re:Biodegradable bullets is next (3, Informative)

damnbunni (1215350) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063687)

Erm, this is already the case for shotgun shells. Lead poisoning in waterfowl led to the banning of lead-based shotgun pellets.

Re:Biodegradable bullets is next (2, Funny)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065227)

That's why I buy only depleted uranium shot loads!

=Smidge=

Re:Biodegradable bullets is next (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068859)

You jest , but your coment should actually be moderated insightful. While radioactive the chemical effects from uranium and lead alike outdo the radioactive ones from uranium by orders of magnitude. In terms of toxicity lead is probably a lot worse than uranium. The concern with DU as used by military is mostly when it is used in armor piercing rounds, where the bullets are propelled to sufficient velocities to powderise them on impact. The concerns is that finely powderised uranium may get stuck in people's lungs, greatly increasing exposure. While there are varying opinions about the extent to which this is a problem, the concern is almost completely down to the uranium powderising. Had regular lead been used in a similar way ( it is not because it is far too soft for an armor piercing material ) the effects would likely have been worse than with uranium, since lead is significantly more toxic.

Re:Biodegradable bullets is next (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063777)

Already happened. Remember depleted uranium?

Re:Biodegradable bullets is next (2, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063889)

Depleted uranium is used for reasons that have nothing to do with lead toxicity, but instead for its density and its self-sharpening trait. Keeping the penetrating point and maximum kinetic energy is important when punching through armor.

That said, there are growing areas banning lead bullets, including sometimes for law enforcement, due to the perceived health risk.

Re:Biodegradable bullets is next (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24064545)

obviously you haven't learned what sarcasm is.

DU is thousands of times more toxic than lead, and will persist in the environment for the rest of the Earths lifetime.

Re:Biodegradable bullets is next (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24069665)

obviously you haven't learned what sarcasm is.

DU is thousands of times more toxic than lead, and will persist in the environment for the rest of the Earths lifetime.

Obviously you haven't learned what elements are.

Depleted uranium is less radioactive than natural uranium; by definition, it's natural uranium that has been depleted of its more-highly-radioactive isotopes. DU, natural uranium, and lead, all have comparable chemical toxicities. And yes, all three substances will persist in the environment for the rest of the Earth's lifetime, because all three substances have persisted in the environment since the Earth was formed 4.6 billion years ago.

The biggest thing wrong with environmentalism is that most self-professed environmentalists haven't even passed eighth-grade chemistry.

*pout* (4, Funny)

Perseid (660451) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063507)

But if they can only set off green fireworks that'll make for a pretty boring show.

Re:*pout* (4, Funny)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063651)

Several hundred acres of burning rain forest would be pretty exciting.

Re:*pout* (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063725)

I think amber is also going to be a color option...

Re:*pout* (2, Insightful)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065953)

But green's my favorite color!

Actually I'm really enjoying the new innovations that don't have to do with color. Every year at the fireworks display at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg, VA near where I live they usually show a new concept. One year was the rocket that bursts in a ring. Then they made a smiley face using two blue dots for eyes and several pink dots for a mouth inside the circle. Then they came up with a circle with a heart in it and last night they had rockets that burst in a star pattern. The star pattern wasn't as well-defined as the smiley and the heart, but it was still really cool.

My 12-year-old joked that soon we'd start hearing reports about how fireworks contribute to global warming. I'm all for environmental considerations, and the idea of eliminating heavy metals and perchlorates is really great, but I am so sick of the uninformed hysteria that usually accompanies the topic.

PETA won't be satisfied (4, Funny)

kunwon1 (795332) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063535)

They want to get rid of fireworks completely because they scare dogs [helpinganimals.com] .

Re:PETA vs Gun Lobby (-1, Troll)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063595)

With any luck they will go after the gun lobby after all they, the guns, make loud noises too. In fact hunters force their dogs to go with them when they do fire off those loud noise making things.

Re:PETA vs Gun Lobby (4, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063689)

In fact hunters force their dogs to go with them when they do fire off those loud noise making things.

One of my Labrador Retrievers, who is trained as a "gun dog", goes ballistic when he hears fireworks go off. He thinks they are shotguns which means that somebody is out hunting which means he should be doing the same.

He gets very upset when he finds out that this isn't the case. It just depends on how the dog is raised. Operant conditioning and all that.

Re:PETA won't be satisfied (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24063601)

I want to get rid of PETA because they scare me ;-)

Next up on PETA's forbidden list: thunder.

Re:PETA won't be satisfied (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24063635)

Be honest, they won't be happy till they have removed ALL TRADITIONS!! There are traditions of dog and cock fighting, bull fighting, and other sport going back to the roman empire and beyond, but peta has decided that the traditions need to be accosted! If they could get rid of Christmas they would, and just think of the birds/squirrels/howler monkeys which would have a good life in the tree farm now that it can't conduct business. They are just going after fireworks now because it's july and that's an important part of the us celebration.

In the words of apu: "Celebrate the independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it."

Re:PETA won't be satisfied (2, Interesting)

Omestes (471991) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064809)

Exaggerate much?

I dislike PETA as much as the next guy, but your taking this a bit far.

My pets panic on the fourth and on New Years. I live in suburbia like most people. How many people ACTUALLY have hunting dogs? Really? What percentage?

Not many, anymore, I'd guess, times have moved on.

Just because a sport has a traditions, doesn't make it okay. Bullfighting and Cockfighting stretch back a bit, therefore throwing Christians to the lions and gladiatorial combat should be fine too? Should Human sacrifice also be fine just because its traditional to certain cultures? Times move on, as do values, this is generally considered a good thing.

I don't find torturing animals for our amusement fine, just because some idiotic older cultures did so. Hurting animals for our amusement is idiotic, do we really need to cause pain to be happy? I would consider this a sad bit of evidence for humanity.

Sure, animals should be for food, and skins, but killing them for shits and giggles is kind of dubious.

If we can make environmentally friendly fireworks, I really don't see any reason to get pissed. Just as I don't see any reason to get mad at prohibiting seeing other entities pain (for its own sake) as a bad thing.

Re:PETA won't be satisfied (2, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067385)

"How many people ACTUALLY have hunting dogs? Really? What percentage?"

That depends on where you live. Many people in rural and semi-rural areas ("flyover country" to the Slashdotian Urban Sophisticates) have hunting dogs. I don't hunt with dogs so I don't have a "percentage" figure, but packs are quite common in the Southeast.

"Sure, animals should be for food, and skins, but killing them for shits and giggles is kind of dubious."

We don't need the skins for survival and meat is optional, so why exempt those uses? Bossy is just as dead when the pneumatic bolt shatters her skull as Bambi is when the broadhead crashes through her heart.

Why, exactly, should we as apex predators not hunt if it we wish to do so?

If you prefer not to hunt, then don't. It is that simple. There are cities, where those who like urban life should stay so as not to be confronted with anything different. There are other areas for those who like a different lifestyle. We need never meet or affect each other.

Re:PETA won't be satisfied (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069325)

That really wasn't a comment against hunting. More against torturing animals for sport. I don't know many hunters who shoot for painful wounds, and long deaths. Hunting wasn't, last time I checked, about causing suffering for the sake of fun.

Hunting is now a necessary function, even if hide and meat (which is necissary) is not. We've destroyed all of the other apex preditors, so something needs to keep the populations in check.

I don't hunt, nor do I ever want to. I don't have anything against most hunters (if they are well behaved, and realize that often the land their filling with lead is used by other people as well). But painting me as "city folk" because I don't enjoy killing things is a bit much. You don't know my background, so please refrain from painting me into one.

Re:PETA won't be satisfied (1, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063763)

PETA activists need therapy. rubbing them with bacon and putting them in a room with junkyard dogs would do wonders for their attitude on dog rights

Re:PETA won't be satisfied (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064011)

They want to get rid of fireworks completely because they scare dogs [helpinganimals.com] .

Melatonin apparently works as a cheap tranquilizer for dogs. It doesn't make the dog sleepy as it does humans, just calms them down. And dosage is not much a problem as the lethal dose is several hundred times the effective dose.

Re:PETA won't be satisfied (3, Insightful)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064089)

The only reason that activist is bothered by it is because she doesn't like fireworks. She had no problems with vacuuming, even though that's another loud noise that her dog doesn't like.

Re:PETA won't be satisfied (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24064487)

It is because most animal rights activists are self righteous hypocrites looking for something to bitch about, while ignoring all kinds of shit that they do that harms animals.

Re:PETA won't be satisfied (1)

suck_burners_rice (1258684) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064431)

While I don't agree that fireworks need to be done away with, it is true that dogs (and most animals for that matter) are frightened by fireworks, both the professional fireworks displays and the smaller variety that people set off in their neighbourhoods*. A few years ago on the Fourth of July, while driving down home from a fireworks display, a dog, frightened by other fireworks displays, jumped in front of a car in the next lane. The result was displeasing to all parties present (especially the dog). For this reason, there should be public service commercials about putting pets safely indoors before nightfall on Independence Day, similar to the ads discouraging the act of firing handguns into the air during New Years celebrations. ("Yes, those bullets do come back down!" exclaimed the news reporter in one such televised attempt to prevent accidental deaths from this stupid act.)

* Please excuse the Bri'ish spelling of neighborhood.

Re:PETA won't be satisfied (1)

GXTi (635121) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068521)

As mentioned in the link, thunder is a much bigger problem. I demand that PETA immediately notify God to cease and desist from all stormy weather.

For better safety don't eat the fireworks (5, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063597)

Jeez: perchlorate causes thyroid problems.... Well don't eat the firework and don't inhale the gases.

How about **watching** the fireworks instead? Yeah I know that's an outlandish idea, but try it some time... you see all these pretty patterns!

Compared to all the tailpipe emissions of people driving to the firework display, the chemicals used on the lawns they are sitting on, the peroxide the "blonds" all used to bleach their hair etc etc, the chemicals in the actual fireworks are insignificant.

Re:For better safety don't eat the fireworks (1)

TClevenger (252206) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063611)

Frankly, in that area of Oklahoma, they should first crack down on residents running their sewer pipes directly into the streams, THEN worry about things like fireworks.

Re:For better safety don't eat the fireworks (4, Informative)

turtledawn (149719) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063627)

TFineA addresses this issue: the company they profile currently makes most of their sales to Vegas shows, professional wrestling events, and rock concerts, where you do in fact have people in a confined space breathing the fumes and exposed to particulates night after night after night. The other big market is the military, for signal flares and training aids. Again, fairly regular exposure.

In all, some interesting chemistry.

Re:For better safety don't eat the fireworks (1)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063785)

TFineA addresses this issue: the company they profile currently makes most of their sales to Vegas shows, professional wrestling events, and rock concerts, where you do in fact have people in a confined space breathing the fumes and exposed to particulates night after night after night.

Wow, they have lakes in those confined spaces?

Re:For better safety don't eat the fireworks (2, Insightful)

toddestan (632714) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064211)

Wow, they have lakes in those confined spaces?

You've obviously never been to Vegas.

Re:For better safety don't eat the fireworks (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064567)

He ain't missing as much as most people who have been to Vegas, namely money and STDs. It is an overpriced gaudy abortion of a town and everyone there tries to fuck you one way or another.

Re:For better safety don't eat the fireworks (1)

atraintocry (1183485) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069833)

That's why it's so great!

Re:For better safety don't eat the fireworks (2, Insightful)

phobos13013 (813040) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063781)

Great idea to avoid exposure, except that it doesnt address the issue pointed out IN THE SUMMARY, that says the endocrine disrupters are getting into THE WATER SUPPLY. If you go swimming in that lake they shoot your fireworks over even a week after the event, you are being exposed to very high doses! Unless of course you live in a county where your environmental regulator has said it is not acceptable use as recreational water source, which is evidence of the symptom itself. Also, many of the drinking water supplies come from some of these water supplies, as a result, we may be consuming some of these chemicals. Sure, water treatment may address some of them, but then there is the problem of disinfection by-products which is a problem all in itself. All in all, the point is, many of the activities we partake in, are ruining the health of surroundings, and as a result, is ruining the health of our species...

Re:For better safety don't eat the fireworks (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064223)

Heavy metals can be addressed by a simple carbon filter, which isn't going to add anything to the water except maybe some extra carbon. Perchlorate needs a reverse osmosis setup, which is more complicated, but it shouldn't add much to the water, either.

Re:For better safety don't eat the fireworks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24064489)

And how does this differ from the usual assortment of poisons they put in the public water supply?

Perhaps these fake do-gooders should focus on some real and ongoing issues?

Re:For better safety don't eat the fireworks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24066869)

No where IN THE SUMMARY does it say that those levels of perchlorate are even close to dangerous. The 1000x crap is just sensationalism. If those levels presented a hazard, I'm sure that would have been in ALL CAPS.

Re:For better safety don't eat the fireworks (4, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063899)

Jeez: perchlorate causes thyroid problems.... Well don't eat the firework and don't inhale the gases.

How about **watching** the fireworks instead

Fine - I'll watch them, not without remembering that there are many places in the world where people manufacture fireworks with their bare hands, and are in direct contact with the aforementioned toxic materials. Thank you for your kind interest.

Re:For better safety don't eat the fireworks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24066261)

Jeez: perchlorate causes thyroid problems.... Well don't eat the firework and don't inhale the gases.

How about **watching** the fireworks instead

Fine - I'll watch them, not without remembering that there are many places in the world where people manufacture fireworks with their bare hands, and are in direct contact with the aforementioned toxic materials. Thank you for your kind interest.

where exactly?

Re:For better safety don't eat the fireworks (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064303)

DONT eat my fireworks?!

BRILLIANT!

Re:For better safety don't eat the fireworks (1)

westyvw (653833) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064375)

Jeez: perchlorate causes thyroid problems.... Well don't eat the firework and don't inhale the gases.

Well we dont eat the fireworks, but there is no excaping the gases in my town. Its literally like a dense fog all over the city, possibly county, tonight. Amazing really, but there is no avoiding the smoke unless you stay inside, but then guess what? You cant see them.

yep (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24063603)

sex with ducks yo

Still, is the harm that great? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24063607)

I know that thousands of fireworks are used in the US at 4th of July, just like many other days around the world, but still, do they do that much harm? I wonder...

Suck my dick Eco fags (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24063645)

Bite a turd you cocksuckers. I'm going to drop my next load of grogans into the town
reservoir, just in your honor.

I wonder... (2, Insightful)

spydabyte (1032538) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063699)

...if these levels are affected by the show I just saw.
I'm currently in Barcelona, Spain and witnessed the best July 4th Fireworks show I have ever seen, including any Disney display.

But the most relevant part was that they shot fireworks off the pier into the mar, sea, which exploded off of the water, something I doubt they would do in America...

Re:I wonder... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063799)

> But the most relevant part was that they shot fireworks off the pier into the mar, sea,
> which exploded off of the water, something I doubt they would do in America...

Why do you say that?

Re:I wonder... (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063953)

Most fireworks shows I know of in the USA happen from land over water. Why do you say you doubt they would do that?

At Disney World I know they shoot the fireworks from either on land or near land over the water.

Wonder NO more! (1)

Talkischeap (306364) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063955)

Well, just so you know, they do set fireworks off over the ocean in America.

In California, at Point Arena, they blast them off of the public pier, and in Fort Bragg, they shoot them off of the bluff top and right into the Pacific Ocean.

Oh, and they pollute the ocean with toxic chemicals from the abandoned lumber mill around here also.

It's the American way after-all.

Re:Wonder NO more! (1)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063989)

And in Chicago they shoot them off over Lake Michigan.

In Peoria, they shoot them off over the Illinois River.

In fact, most places strongly prefer to shoot fireworks off over water - because there is no chance of catching the water on fire.

Now, if they were somehow bouncing them off the water, that would be something unusual and definitely something worth seeing.

Re:Wonder NO more! (3, Funny)

chromatic (9471) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064551)

In fact, most places strongly prefer to shoot fireworks off over water - because there is no chance of catching the water on fire.

Not Cleveland, then?

Re:Wonder NO more! (1)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068853)

...and in Fort Bragg, they shoot them off of the bluff top and right into the Pacific Ocean.

Huh? Fort Bragg is in central North Carolina on the east coast (about 4 hours by car from the Atlantic Ocean, several days from the Pacific)

Re:I wonder... (1)

spymagician (1303515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064115)

But the most relevant part was that they shot fireworks off the pier into the mar, sea, which exploded off of the water, something I doubt they would do in America...

In New york, the fireworks display is directly on the East River. It used to be on the Hudson River.

Re:I wonder... (5, Interesting)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064137)

I live aboard a boat in America, and watched them shot off over water from my dock tonight. It's neat, the reflections...

I'm glad that some folks think of things like in TFA, but at the same time - some things should just be left pretty much as they are. Though the levels in that lake may have risen to 1000 times normal (and one of the sampling sites was next to and between the "Ignition site"), they were back to normal in 20-80 days:

After the fireworks displays, perchlorate concentrations decreased toward the background level within 20 to 80 days, with the rate of attenuation correlating to surface water temperature. Adsorption tests indicate that sediments underlying the water column have limited (~100 nmol/g) capacity to remove perchlorate via chemical adsorption. Microcosms showed comparatively rapid intrinsic perchlorate degradation in the absence of nitrate consistent with the observed disappearance of perchlorate from the study site. This suggests that at sites with appropriate biogeochemical conditions, natural attenuation may be an important factor affecting the fate of perchlorate following fireworks displays.

Some things are worth a little danger, and thus also a little caution, or life wouldn't be so much fun...

Re:I wonder... (1)

spydabyte (1032538) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064189)

But the most relevant part was that they shot fireworks off the pier into the mar, sea, which exploded off of the water, something I doubt they would do in America...

I have never seen a show where the fireworks, the things that are usually shot off of boats into the sky above water to explode, were shot horizontally to fall into the sea and exploded on, literally on, the water.

Every reply says they shoot the fireworks off of the water, yes they do, but they don't explode on the water in America.
Is that more clear?

I just doubt with all the law suits and safety guidelines in the US, along with studies like this, is why it would never happen.

Re:I wonder... (1)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065117)

While No, the projectiles are rarely (if ever?) shot off on horizontal trajectories here, I don't think that is because of the reasons you claim.

More likely, says Occam, it is because if you shoot them *up*, then more people can see them - which is, after all, the fireworks raison d'etre... ;)

Re:I wonder... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064553)

But the most relevant part was that they shot fireworks off the pier into the mar, sea, which exploded off of the water, something I doubt they would do in America...

Ah, the famous /. reflexive America bashing. Fact is however that where water is available to shoot them over, it is virtually always done. (For safety and because the reflections on the water are lovely...) In the county where I live (which just misses being an island) every major show is over water, as are the majority of the smaller shows.

Pff. (2, Funny)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063739)

Polluting the environment and fireworks are the two things America does best. Why do you hate us?

Polluting the environment and fireworks... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065123)

Cause you keep stealing those "feathers" from Chinese who are the real champions of both disciplines?

Nuke the upper atmosphere with Saran/Reynolds wrap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24063783)

Hmm... It would cause quite a brouhaha internationally because of its anti-satellite possibilities, but I always thought that an orbiting electrostatic cannon would be cool. Shoot bits of aluminized mylar at several miles per second with a solar array as an energy source, and they would hit like hand grenades. Analyze the composition of asteroids and other Near Earth Objects (the incandescence upon impact would reveal via spectroscopy of what the target was composed), deflecting potential Earth-impacting objects (OK, it would have to shoot like a chain-gun, and hit like a 2000 lb bomb, but, theoretically, early enough alterations would deflect a threatening NEO), but most importantly, would provide spectacular ionospheric displays that you wouldn't have to be up until 4:00 AM to see, a la the Leonids and Perseids.

Anonymous Dipstick, AKA Geek Unorthodox

How about some perspective? (3, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063809)

A once a year, thousand times spike in a trace amount chemical, and it dissipates within a month? Let's get a little perspective? How many plastic water bottles and cigarette butts find their way into the same lake, and how long does it take them to dissipate? How much waste comes out of the nearest McDonald's location in a single day? From the nearest coal fired power plant? There are bigger problems to deal with than a dubious annual spike in a trace chemical.

Re:How about some perspective? (5, Insightful)

phobos13013 (813040) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063819)

You create a false dichotomy between dealing with this problem and dealing with the others. Fact is, we don't deal with any of the problems to any significant extent. I say we tackle all these problems simultaneously why choose one then the other, etc. And to boot, this article suggests a practical option that exists now, which is switching the way we produce fireworks today!

Re:How about some perspective? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064265)

Not only is it a false dichotomy, but the GP writes off "A once a year, thousand times spike in a trace amount chemical" as a non-event without providing a shred of evidence to back up the assertion.

The State of California sets 6 micrograms/liter as the max allowable limit [ca.gov]
and according to TFA, the amount of perchlorate spikes to 44.204 micrograms/liter.
 
/And no, the "but I'm not in California" line of logic does not apply

Re:How about some perspective? (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063839)

There are bigger problems to deal with than a dubious annual spike in a trace chemical.

How do you know? Maybe that once-a-month event has serious, long-term repercussions that we won't learn about for decades. Doesn't necessarily mean we have to stop, but we should either stop or make sure we don't need to stop :P

Re:How about some perspective? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24064103)

Maybe that once-a-month event has serious, long-term repercussions that we won't learn about for decades.

I think that over the past hundred years, we've done enough damage to the planet to provide far more than a few decades of repercussions. Human beings are so stupid with their "let's save the planet" while at the same time the primary goal of humans in the first world is to make as much money as possible, regardless as to how much it screws up other people or the planet. We can't have both! Either we continue to greedily do whatever we want, or we have to cut back and stop "advancing" technology.

Re:How about some perspective? (2, Insightful)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064203)

So, you'd be ok if your town decided to annually fill your house with 1000 times the normal amount of chlorine gas, and you had to wait a month for it to dissipate? I mean, it's only once a year, right?

Re:How about some perspective? (3, Informative)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064429)

I think this illustrates the GPs point. Since typical indoor Cl2 levels tend to be in the PPT range and occupational hazard levels are capped by OSHA at 1 PPM, a 1000 time increase would still trend toward putting you within an "acceptable" limit for long term exposure (1PPM is roughly the exposure you get from going for a swim in a chlorinated pool).

Now, if I had to put up with a 1000-fold increase in whining from my kids for a month, that would be another matter altogether.

Re:How about some perspective? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064249)

A once a year, thousand times spike in a trace amount chemical, and it dissipates within a month? Let's get a little perspective

From the perspective of single molecules, the level jumps from 0 to 100% whenever a molecule of said chemical is encountered, an infinite increase!

plastic water bottle.. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064307)

How many plastic water bottles... find their way into the same lake, and how long does it take them to dissipate?

Doctor: You appear to have a very strange cylindrical lump in your thyroid gland.

Patient: Oh my, is it serious?!

Duh (1)

CmdrPorno (115048) | more than 6 years ago | (#24063873)

Just use CFLs. They're just as good as incandescents.

Great, just great (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064219)

I just got back from shooting fireworks, by the lake that serves as the water source for where I live. Epic amounts of fireworks were set off near it also...

Green Fireworks (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24064237)

I'm all for being environmentally friendly and all, but green fireworks would get old after awhile.

Patriotism, American Style (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24064401)

Nothing says "I love America" quite like cheap, toxic, Chinese fireworks. Don't bother cleaning up your litter either, I really like seeing that shit in the street in the middle of August.

How about dealing with the real problem (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064707)

i.e., explosives in the hands of non-experts, instead? It boggles the mind that in this safety-obsessed world it's still possible to randomly spray your general vicinity with things that go BOOM. In my observation, the kind of people who buy fireworks are often the ones who can't be trusted to be responsible with them. There's something about fireworks that turns normal people into pyromaniacs.

Re:How about dealing with the real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065153)

I don't know...maybe it would be prudent to allow those people to remove themselves from the gene pool. Maybe I'm just cynical.

1000 times normal? (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 6 years ago | (#24064829)

So... one part in a billion instead of one part in a trillion? How about discussing actual effects instead of using hyperbole?

Re:1000 times normal? (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065733)

It's a relative measure of effect rather than absolute; the latter of which would be of no benefit without a baseline.

You have got to be the stupidest motherfucker on the planet if you don't get that; that's hyperbole.

Know what? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24064879)

I just plum don't give a fuck.

Holographic Projector? (1)

32771 (906153) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065015)

I'm wondering whether some advanced LASER show wouldn't be more useful.

I doubt though that anything like holograms could be easily used for this but who knows where we can get with the following

http://www.media.mit.edu/spi/holoVideoAll.htm [mit.edu]

What I like about this is the idea that it doesn't have to be perfect for a fireworks display so the technology should be usable early on, and any artifacts could be declared special effects.

The problem will be that high powered lasers will be needed to get the same effect as with a normal firework.

I'm also wondering where the noise will come from, it could be replaced by music from "Disaster Area" however.

With some luck one could use the lasers to make some noise, here is a good one

http://legolas.ece.wisc.edu/current/laser/index.html [wisc.edu]

They are talking about shock waves at least.

All in all if you look at the cost you will figure out that producing the Laser will be expensive energy wise, more so than fireworks actually. Also you won't be able to develop stuff like this in China so you may have to pay some engineers locally to come up with something. With all the SUVs they are driving it won't be good for the environment either.

If you want to see a star spangled banner in the sky though, just turn off the lights and pray for good weather. That will give you a whole milky way of stars if the moon isn't out. I saw this once in Australia it was just awesome.

What about the Excess Nitrogen (1, Troll)

crmarvin42 (652893) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065295)

What about the negative impact of excess Nitrogen in water tables. Most people have heard about farms being a source of pollution, leading to eutrophication of ground water, algae blooms, fish kills, nasty smelling water, etc.

The 1st limiting nutrient in most aquatic environments is Nitrogen. It's the Nitrogen in animal waste that is the problem for surface water. I'd need to see the effect of Nitrogen based fireworks on Nitrogen levels in the water before I jump on this bandwagon.

Re:What about the Excess Nitrogen (2, Insightful)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066005)

This is *not* insightful (and I'm wasting my change to mod it overrated to try and correct it).

1) Nitrogen is one of the most available chemicals on the planet.
2) *Nitrates* are the biologically available form of nitrogen.
3) Farmers dump hundreds of pounds to tons of fertilizer on their fields; depending on crop, soil, etc.
4) As far as I can tell, nitrates are not a major combustion product of nitrocellulose. You can get some
      nitrogen dioxide as a seconday byproduct [aiaa.org] , but no more so than anything else burned in
      the atmopshere at high temperatures, including perchlorate fireworks. The main effect of which would
      seem to be some minor acidification; NO2 -> N2O4, N2O4 + H2O -> HNO2 + HNO3.

Re:What about the Excess Nitrogen (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066023)

Technically that's 2 NO2 <-> N2O4, although it's heavily weighted to the right under STP.

Ada, Oklahoma (2, Informative)

custerfluck (888788) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065651)

For the record, the fireworks sucked this year in Ada.

I think they raised a stink last year (1)

CBob (722532) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065961)

And it's prob the same company, the same study and the same SMALL pond. Being broke has some advantages, (not really, but work with me) I can't get in trouble (yet) for reading rec.pyrotechnics, nor can I get in trouble for making my own fireworks, but I did read about this goofy study last year or so.

Green...? (2, Interesting)

areusche (1297613) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066575)

Alright, I'm cool with 100+ mpg cars, low-yield nuclear reactions, hydrogen, and treeless paper. But on the 4th of July I do not want anything ruining my ability to launch of cardboard, gunpowder filled explosives into the atmosphere. Now that I think about it when I drive around at night on July 4th it is always hazy with a cool mist. Grand explosives that are illegal in my municipality and state that are launched off anyway because I don't really care are the whole reason why the Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays.
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