The Jordan Harbinger Show
854: Fireworks | Skeptical Sunday
The episode discusses the fireworks industry, injuries caused by fireworks, their negative environmental and health impacts, regulations, and alternatives. It highlights the financial success of the industry and the increasing number of injuries, particularly hand and finger injuries. The episode also addresses illegal fireworks, safety measures, and the need for parental vigilance. It explores the psychological enjoyment of fireworks and their contribution to climate change. The harmful effects on air, water, soil, and human health are discussed, including asthma attacks, kidney disease, and cancer. The impact on animals, property damage from fires, resistance to regulations, and potential alternatives like drones are also covered.
Firework injuries have been increasing
Firework injuries have risen by 25% in the last 15 years, with hand and finger injuries being the most common.
Fireworks have negative environmental and health impacts
Fireworks release harmful metals and gases that contribute to climate change. Short-term exposure to these metals can cause lung disease, respiratory infections, heart attacks, and arrhythmia.
Fireworks trigger PTSD symptoms and anxiety
Fireworks can trigger PTSD symptoms and anxiety in over 12 million Americans every year, particularly combat veterans who associate loud noises with threats experienced in combat zones.
Pets are affected by fireworks noise
Pets are often scared during the Fourth of July due to fireworks noise, even if they don't show obvious signs of distress.
Fireworks cause property damage and fires
Fireworks cause a significant number of fires each year, resulting in property damage.
Regulations on fireworks are challenging
Regulations on fireworks are spread across multiple government agencies and are often hard to enforce. Some people view regulations as a threat to their freedom.
China is the largest manufacturer of fireworks
China manufactures the most fireworks in the world, and the US buys most of its fireworks from China.
Drones can be an alternative to fireworks
Drones offer a quieter, reusable, and less polluting alternative to traditional fireworks displays. However, there is a rare possibility of drones falling out of the sky and causing harm or damage.
- Fireworks Industry and Injuries
- Illegal Fireworks and Safety Measures
- Environmental and Health Impacts of Fireworks
- Impact on Animals, Regulations, and Alternatives
Fireworks Industry and Injuries
00:00 - 12:50
- The fireworks industry netted $2.2 billion in 2021 and $1.9 billion in 2020.
- Fireworks have negative effects on the environment and can cause injuries.
- Firework injuries are up 25% in the last 15 years, with 15,600 people sent to the emergency room in 2020.
- 31% of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries are classified as hands or fingers.
- Approximately 4,800 people per year have hand or finger injuries due to fireworks.
- Other body parts also get injured from fireworks, including the head, face, eyes, and other areas.
- The distribution of injuries to different body parts is fairly even, with about 30-35% per part.
- Some injuries are not included in the statistics because they were not treated in emergency rooms.
Illegal Fireworks and Safety Measures
06:31 - 18:42
- A 12-year-old girl lost all her fingers on her left hand when she mistakenly lit an M80 firework thinking it was a smoke-producing toy.
- Illegal explosive devices like M80s have been banned since the 1960s.
- Parents should be more vigilant in preventing children from accessing dangerous fireworks.
- Firework-related injuries are most common around July 4th celebrations.
- Explosions caused by M80s can cause severe damage to the hand, making reattachment difficult.
- July 5th and 6th are often filled with leftover fireworks and people blowing things up.
- A girl was injured when she lit a smoke bomb given to her by another child.
- Parents can't always watch their kids, so teaching them to be safe is important.
Environmental and Health Impacts of Fireworks
12:33 - 32:17
- Fireworks can be dangerous for various reasons, including disrupting communities and starting fires.
- Fireworks also emit metals into the air and have packaging that perpetuates racist stereotypes.
- Fireworks have a history of racist stereotypes in their packaging.
- Some recent examples include fireworks called 'Red Engine' and 'Dixie Boys' with offensive packaging.
- Despite the problematic packaging, fireworks are still popular and widely used in the United States.
- The enjoyment of fireworks is rooted in psychology, as they stimulate our fear response and release dopamine.
- Fireworks provide a controlled form of fear that is predictable and rewarding.
- Humans are drawn to the anticipation and satisfaction provided by fireworks displays.
- While there are cons associated with fireworks, tradition and habit make it difficult to eliminate their use.
- Fireworks have negative effects on the environment, including the release of harmful metals and gases that contribute to climate change.
- Short-term exposure to these metals can cause health issues such as lung disease, respiratory infections, heart attacks, and arrhythmia.
- The chemicals from fireworks can also contaminate air, water, and soil, leading to various illnesses including asthma attacks, kidney disease, and cancer.
- Fireworks release metals that can poison the air, water, and soil
- Inhaled or ingested metals from fireworks can cause illnesses like asthma attacks, kidney disease, and cancer
- Fireworks contain oxidizers called pichlorates that can contaminate rivers, lakes, and drinking water
- Fireworks produce a fine cloud of smoke and particulate matter that affects local air quality
- LA experienced its worst air quality in a decade after the 4th of July last year due to fireworks pollution
- Over 14,000 fireworks displays in the US alone during the 4th of July weekend
- Fireworks increase particulate pollution by an average of 42%
- Noise pollution from fireworks disrupts communities and triggers PTSD in combat veterans
- Loud noises can trigger PTSD symptoms in combat veterans who associate them with threats experienced in combat zones
- Fireworks trigger PTSD symptoms and anxiety in over 12 million Americans every year
- Pets are often scared during the Fourth of July due to fireworks noise
- Even if pets don't exhibit obvious signs of distress, they may still be affected by fireworks anxiety
Impact on Animals, Regulations, and Alternatives
18:12 - 44:47
- Fireworks can cause distress to dogs, even if they don't show obvious signs of fear.
- Many pet owners have to take precautions or leave town during fireworks celebrations.
- Fireworks at stadiums and events can also be traumatic for animals and humans alike.
- Fireworks on the 4th of July lead to a high number of missing pets.
- Animals may suffer health effects from stress caused by fireworks, such as running into roads and getting hit by cars.
- Fireworks cause a significant number of fires each year, resulting in property damage.
- The American pyrotechnics industry has resisted regulations on fireworks.
- Regulations on fireworks are spread across multiple government agencies.
- Regulations on fireworks are spread out and hard to enforce.
- Police dispatchers in big cities like LA often don't respond to noise complaints about explosions and fireworks.
- Some people view regulations on fireworks as a threat to their freedom.
- China manufactures the most fireworks in the world, and the US buys most of its fireworks from China.
- There is a company in California that is the biggest manufacturer of fireworks in the US, but they mostly cater to big events.
- Drones can be a good alternative to fireworks for celebrations. They are quieter, reusable, and don't cause pollution or fires.
- Drone shows can create impressive displays with words, images, and moving pictures in the sky.
- The only downside of drones is the rare possibility of them falling out of the sky and causing harm or damage.
- Sustainable materials should be used for making drones to minimize environmental impact.