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Lung India. 2019 Jul-Aug;36(4):324-329. doi: 10.4103/lungindia.lungindia_440_18.

Personal exposures to particulate matter <2.5 μm in mass median aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5) pollution during the burning of six most commonly used firecrackers in India.

Author information

1
Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, Maharashtra, India.
2
Chest Research Foundation, Pune, Maharashtra, India.

Abstract

Introduction:

Diwali or the festival of lights is the most popular festival celebrated in India when firecrackers are burnt by almost every household for 3 days. Levels of ambient air pollution are reported to be very high during the Diwali festival in India. In this study, we aimed to measure and compare the personal exposure levels to particulate matter <2.5 μm in mass median aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5) during burning of six of the most commonly used firecracker types in India.

Methods:

Sparklers, ground spinners, flower pots, pulpuls, a garland of 1000 sounding crackers, and snake tablets were burnt outdoors in an open area during the late evening hours. Minute by minute PM2.5levels were measured at a distance and height from where they are normally burnt using Thermo pDR 1200, USA, and a set of five such experiments were conducted to examine the variability between the firecrackers.

Results:

When measured at a distance and height from where they are normally burnt, the burning of snake tablets produced the highest peak level of PM2.5 (64,500 mcg/m3), followed by a garland of 1000 sounding crackers (38,540 mcg/m3), pulpuls (28,950 mcg/m3), sparklers (10,390 mcg/m3), ground spinners (9490 mcg/m3) and flower pots (4860 mcg/m3).

Conclusion:

Burning of firecrackers produce extremely high levels of personal exposure to PM2.5 levels that are likely to have significant short-term and long-term adverse health effects. The initiative taken by the Supreme Court of India in 2017 to ban the sale of firecrackers seems to be a step in the right direction to reduce the adverse health impacts in the community.

KEYWORDS:

Air pollution; firecrackers; particulate matter; particulate matter <2.5 μm in mass median aerodynamic diameter; public health

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