‘We’re all breathing it in’: San Joaquin Valley air quality officials ask residents to not use personal fireworks

Local News

STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — San Joaquin Valley air quality experts are asking people not to buy personal fireworks, and instead leave the shows to the professionals to avoid negative impacts on air quality.

Independence Day fireworks light up the night sky with a colorful display, but they also produce a lot of smoke.  

“Fireworks can really impact air quality,” said San Joaquin Valley Quality Control District Education Representative Anthony Presto.

Presto said the smoke can negatively impact people’s health. 

“It impacts our breathing, can get deep into the lungs, and also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke,” Presto explained.

People suffering from respiratory illnesses, the elderly and children are likely to be hit hardest.

“It’s not just smoke that we’re breathing in, it’s also other toxins because fireworks have heavy metals in them. So you’re not just breathing in regular smoke,” Presto said.

The district wants people to find other ways to celebrate or attend professional events. 

“We really ask that folks don’t use fireworks,” said San Joaquin Valley Air Control Quality Control District Chief Jaime Holt.

“Those are able to dissipate before they hit the ground in most cases, so the impact is very small, whereas personal fireworks are creating so much smoke down here at ground level, we’re all breathing it in,” Presto said.

Air quality officials say for those who must use personal fireworks, they should try cutting back on how many are set off.

They say every little bit helps. 

“If everyone just makes one change in what they’re doing this Fourth of July, we can see air quality be significantly better in the neighborhoods throughout the San Joaquin Valley,” Holt explained.

Air quality officials say the poor air quality caused by fireworks usually dissipates by the next morning. 

Click or tap here for a list of local Fourth of July celebrations.

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