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HOME IS WHERE YOUR HEALTH IS: A Freedom Worth Fighting For

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A Freedom worth Fighting For


Did you know that it actually took the Declaration of Independence a month before it was officially completed, what with the document being only formally dated on the 4th of July in 1776 when the Continental Congress officially voted for independence from Great Britain on the 2nd of July, and that all signatures were not completed until the 2nd of August? This is also telling of how much Americans cherish this beloved holiday with their celebrations sometimes lasting until mid-August. During this time, they commemorate this historic event by taking the day off, eating a lot of hotdogs, and lighting up the sky with fireworks! While fighting for their freedom from British rule for roughly 170 years was definitely an honorable struggle, perhaps our excessive use of firecrackers (not to mention all the hotdogs we eat) during this time may not exactly be the best for our health as well as for the environment.

From how they are manufactured to how they are lit up to decorate the skies, fireworks contribute to heavily polluting the environment, ultimately harming us and the planet. The elements used in making firecrackers are often gathered through mining, which leads to the loss of biodiversity, erosion, and the contamination of soil and water. Individual assembly of these pyrotechnics involves the use of paper and plastic, which in turn only contributes to more environmental waste. And while these dazzling displays of lights can be mesmerizing, what’s really mind-blowing is how even the smallest firecracker can be air, water, and noise pollution all-in-one.

Elements such as antimony sulfide, barium nitrate, copper, nitric oxide, and ozone are common respiratory irritants and are poisonous when inhaled in high amounts. Aluminum, arsenic compounds, sodium, and sulfur dioxide irritate the skin and can even damage water sources, vegetation, and property. Hexachlorobenzene, lead dioxide, nitrate, and chloride are mutagens and pose as developmental dangers to unborn babies. Ammonium and potassium perchlorates cause thyroid problems, cadmium causes anemia, lead damages the nervous system, and over 30% of compounds found in fireworks cause cancer.

Luckily, backcountryattitude.com proposes several healthier alternatives to celebrate the 4th of July. Some of them include a kite show with LEDs or an environmentally friendly laser light show (a Star Wars themed 4th of July perhaps?). Organized community drumming and drum circles are also a good suggestion. Indoor fireworks projectors and electronic pyrotechnics are yet another viable alternative for those who are looking for jaw-dropping aerial lights displays. Or better yet, maybe a simple evening spent watching an outdoor movie or star gazing could be just as meaningful.

May this coming 4th of July be not just a celebration of America’s independence from foreign rule but also an opportunity to break free from the age-old tradition of using pyrotechnics that pose to shower the environment with all sorts of toxic and carcinogenic substances. As this holiday has passed on from generation to generation its historic impact and significance, may it also be a momentous turning point towards healthier and more environment-friendly decisions we can make today for the benefit of future generations because ultimately, the freedom from poisonous chemicals and deadly toxins is one earthly freedom that is truly worth fighting for.


SOURCE:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/502369/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-fourth-july

http://www.backcountryattitude.com/toxic_fireworks.html

http://www.robinage.com/environment/the-ill-effects-of-firecrackers.htm

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