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Summer fireworks cause major air pollution spikes

As is tradition, many cities across the US celebrated America’s Independence Day by lighting up the sky with fireworks. While they look beautiful, there can be a downside to these celebratory explosions: air pollution.

July 29 2020

A molecule of air pollution.

Although fireworks may look like they disappear into the night, they can leave things like metal particles, dangerous toxins, smoke and potentially harmful chemicals lingering in the air. Depending on the weather, these particles, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and gases have the potential to stick around, making the air outside hazardous, particularly for those with existing air sensitives such as asthma or lung disease.

What’s more, some of this air pollution can make its way inside your home.

Robin Leveque, lead data analyst at Dyson, analysed indoor air quality data pulled from Dyson connected purifiers and outdoor data collected by BreezoMeter after the Fourth of July in major cities and found the most stark example of the correlation between the two in Los Angeles.

Air quality data from Los Angeles, California

“You’ll see in the graph the red line indicates the levels of PM2.5 outside and the blue line indicates the levels inside. Around July 4th and 5th we see a major spike in both outdoor and indoor air pollution. Both levels exceeded the World Health Organization’s recommended daily maximum exposure to air pollution,” says Leveque.

He goes on to explain that while many new homes are built to keep outdoor air pollution out, there are still opportunities for this potentially harmful outside air to make its way indoors.

“We are often reminded of outdoor air pollution – whether you experience a smoggy day living in a populated city or you have seasonal allergies that act up at certain times of the year. But what we don’t consider as much is the often invisible air pollution we have in our own homes.

This is a great example of how outdoor air can potentially impact indoor air, but you and your family can also impact it on a daily basis. Every day we use items that pollute the air we breathe inside our homes like gas stoves, hairspray, scented candles and even cleaning supplies.”

To learn more about outdoor air pollution check out Dyson’s partnership with King’s College to study the impact of air pollution on children as they commute to and from school. For more information on common household items that can cause indoor air pollution click here.

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