SC Bans Antimony, Lithium, Mercury, Arsenic and Lead in Fireworks: Harms of These Chemicals (Download PDF)


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According to SC directives, no firecrackers manufactured shall contain antimony, lithium, mercury, arsenic and lead in any form whatsoever. The substances cause air and noise pollution. Court asked PESO to ensure compliance by manufacturers.

SC Bans Antimony,Lithium, Mercury Arsenic and Lead in Fireworks

SC Bans Antimony, Lithium, Mercury Arsenic and Lead in Fireworks

SC Bans Antimony, Lithium, Mercury Arsenic and Lead in Fireworks

Use of Chemicals in Fireworks

  • Lithium: Gives fireworks red-colored flame
  • Antimony: Responsible for glitter effects
  • Lead oxide: Gives crackling sound effect.
  • Arsenic compounds: Added to fireworks in tiny amounts to make a bright flash.
  • Antimony: Used to create firework glitter effects
  • Aluminum: Produces silver and white flames and sparks.
  • Barium: Used to create green colors in fireworks
  • Calcium: Used to deepen firework colors and to produce orange fireworks.
  • Carbon: Used as a propellant in fireworks
  • Chlorine: Several of the metal salts contain chlorine.
  • Copper: Produce blue colors in fireworks.
  • Iron: Used to produce sparks.
  • Magnesium: Produces white sparks.
  • Sodium: Imparts a gold or yellow color to fireworks.
  • Strontium: Imparts a red color to fireworks
  • Titanium: Produce silver sparks.

Harms of Antimony

  • Exposure to concentrations of antimony can cause irritation of the eyes, skin, and lungs. Prolonged exposure has serious health effects like lung diseases, heart problems, diarrhea, severe vomiting, and stomach ulcers.
  • In addition, almost every stage of the lithium mining process leads to harmful environmental effects.
  • Lithium is also very rare metal.

Harms of Lithium

  • Lithium causes nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, muscle weakness, fatigue, and a dazed feeling.
  • Prolonged exposure causes tremors, frequent urination, and thirst, weight gain, and swelling from excess fluid.

Harms of Mercury

  • Elemental and methylmercury are toxic to the central and peripheral nervous systems.
  • Inhalation is harmful to nervous, digestive and immune systems, lungs and kidneys, and may be fatal.

Harms of Arsenic

  • Long-term exposure to arsenic causes cancer in the skin, lungs, bladder, and kidney.
  • It also causes other skin changes such as thickening and pigmentation.
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified arsenic and arsenic compounds as carcinogenic to humans.

Harms of Lead

  • Young children particularly vulnerable
  • Causes permanent health problems, particularly in development of the brain and nervous system
  • Causes long-term harm in adults, including increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage

What is PESO?

  • The Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) formerly Department of Explosives
  • Headquartered at Nagpur.
  • Comes under, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion.
  • Implements safety related to manufacture, possession, use, sale, transport, import and export of explosives including compressed gases and storage, transport, production, refining and blending of petroleum
  • Enforces the Explosives Act, 1884 and Petroleum Act, 1934 and various rules framed to prevent accidents.
  • Provide technical advice on safety to the central government and state government, local bodies, law-enforcing agencies, industry, trade and users.
  • Offer friendly interface with public upholding transparency and efficiency.
  • Upgrade regulations to meet the requirement of modern technology and International Standards.
  • Constantly upgrade competence, awareness, skills, and motivation of the personnel.

- Published/Last Modified on: August 21, 2017


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