A review of the impact of fireworks on particulate matter in ambient air

J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2016 Dec;66(12):1171-1182. doi: 10.1080/10962247.2016.1219280.


To determine the impact of fireworks (FW) and firecrackers (FC) on particulate matter (PM) in ambient air, we reviewed evidence related to ambient PM during FW/FC periods; specifically, PM concentration, size, morphology, chemical components, including water-soluble ions and trace metals, and associated human health risks caused by exposure to FW/FC PM were reviewed. A large body of research suggests that outdoor ambient PM levels increase significantly during FW/FC displays. Furthermore, FW/FC PM remains suspended in the air, contributing to high PM concentrations for a long period. Increased PM from burning FW and FC mainly comprises fine and ultrafine spherical particles. Elevated levels of various trace metals, ions, elemental carbon (EC), organic carbon (OC), and organics in PM are present during FW/FC periods.

Implications: Unique physical and chemical properties of ambient PM during short-term FW/FC burning can lead to a substantial increase in adverse health effects compared with during non-FW/FC periods. Further epidemiological and toxicological research into the potential health effects resulting from exposure to various pollutants from FW/FC is vital. Geographical distributions of PM concentrations during FW displays highlight the importance of implementing PM controls at the regional level and formulating stricter protective environmental legislation, particularly in Asian (e.g., India, China, or Taiwan) where festivals are not the only periods celebrated with FW/FC.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects
  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollutants / chemistry
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Explosive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Holidays
  • Humans
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects
  • Particulate Matter / analysis*
  • Particulate Matter / chemistry


  • Air Pollutants
  • Explosive Agents
  • Particulate Matter