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Fourth Of July Fireworks Lead To Worst Air Quality Since The Bobcat Fire

Colorful fountain fireworks spew sparks and smoke on a street in Huntington Beach while several women watch.
This years fireworks have lead to the worst air quality since the Bobcat Fire last September.
(Jill Replogle
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If you were out and about this 4th of July, there's a good chance you saw a fair amount of fireworks, and that haze that comes along with them.

Here's a reminder of what that looked like:

Now the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) is reporting that this year's Independence Day celebrations led to the worst air quality in the region since the Bobcat Fire last September.

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Levels of fine particulate matter were the second highest they've been on July 4th and 5th in a decade. One bit of good news, they were still 14% lower than last year's celebration.

Jo Kay Ghosh, the Health Effects Officer with South Coast AQMD, said with those high levels of particulate come potentially serious health effects.

"These are the very small air pollution particles that can be breathed deep into the lungs, where they can cause damage," Ghosh said. "In particular, this year, we saw that the valley areas and also some inland areas had some of the highest levels of this particulate air pollution."

Some of those possible cardiovascular and respiratory health effects:

  • heart attacks
  • asthma aggravation
  • decreased lung function
  • coughing
  • difficulty breathing.

AQMD officials say the use of personal fireworks and professional fireworks displays were the main drivers of the poor air quality. Weather conditions also play a role in how high the pollution levels get.

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