Freedom Over Texas at Eleanor Tinsley Park | Photo courtesy of the Mayor's Office of Special Events
Fireworks have been astounding audiences throughout the globe for hundreds of years, and if the pictures above are some signs, This year's presentations are sure to be equally as magnificent as decades past. By several accounts, fireworks were considered to scare away bad spirits. The invention of fireworks led to the invention of pyrotechnic weaponry not the other way around. Sometimes between 600 and 900 C.E., Chinese alchemists inadvertently mixed saltpeter with sulfur and charcoal, unintentionally stumbling upon the primitive chemical recipe for gunpowder. On a darker note, there is accounts of fireworks being strapped to rats to be used in medieval warfare.
Boom. Hiss. Some firework recipes consist of sound elements. As each layer burns off, it releases a gas, making the whistling sound associated with most firework rockets. Given their ingredients, it is sensible that fireworks aren't as ideal for the environment. Exploding a firework releases heavy metals, dioxins, perchlorates along with other air pollutants to the air, and these pollutants have a serious health effects in high doses. Again, given their components, it is probably not too surprising that recycling burst fireworks is not an option. If you're attempting to dispose of unused fireworks, it is a fantastic idea to call them as well, as most have specific disposal procedures for explosives.
Do not worry, chemists are developing more eco-friendly firework recipes. The work is aimed at creating more eco-friendly flares for army use, but may also be implemented to civilian fireworks. Some fireworks which use nitrogen abundant compounds instead of perchlorates have been utilized in displays, but the challenge is creating friendly products as inexpensive as choices. Americans have been putting off fireworks to celebrate their independence since 1777, at least. Some of the very early Freedom Day celebrations included fireworks.
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