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The obligatory fireworks post

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It's the Fourth of July again, which means that greens across the nation will have the opportunity to look like unpatriotic ninnies by pointing out that fireworks are bad for the environment.

They're right, of course. As Salon's resident eco-expert Pablo Päster points out, all the fireworks purchased in the United States in 2006, would, if detonated, emit 60,340 tons of C02, the equivalent of what is produced by 12,000 cars running for a year. He also notes that the compounds used to create fireworks' bright colors contain heavy metals that contaminate soil and water.

What's more, most fireworks contain potassium perchlorate, a chemical thought to pose health risks to humans and wildlife. Last year the Environmental Protection Agency discovered a definitive link between fireworks and surface water perchlorate contamination. But perchlorate levels returned to normal after a month or two.

Given these hazards, Mr. Päster actually recommends that you skip the fireworks and attend a Pink Floyd laser show instead, advice that I'm sure will dispel any notion that environmentalists are a bunch of America-hating hippies.


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