Sparklers as a nanohazard: size distribution measurements of the nanoparticles released from sparklers

Abstract

Sparklers, sometimes called Bengal lights, are widely used for the celebration of a variety of events due to their esthetic and entertaining effects. They are especially popular with children. While their associated safety measures deal with rules regarding possible burns to the skin or eyes, the strong emission of nanoparticles during the combustion of sparklers is usually both ignored and unregulated. Here, we report on the high concentrations of nanoparticles released during the indoor combustion of sparklers. Large proportions of the metals making up the sparking material are released into the atmosphere. Information based on chemical analyses of pristine and burned sparklers is compared to the relevant data relating to the released nanoparticles. Their small size and the presence of barium suggest that the use of sparklers as a children’s entertainment should be reconsidered.

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank Marko Djorić for his technical assistance with the measurement of nanoparticles in the air, Mira Zupančič for the chemical analysis, and the Centre of Excellence Namaste and the Slovenian Research Agency for financing.

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Correspondence to Maja Remškar.

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Remškar, M., Tavčar, G. & Škapin, S.D. Sparklers as a nanohazard: size distribution measurements of the nanoparticles released from sparklers. Air Qual Atmos Health 8, 205–211 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11869-014-0281-8

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Keywords

  • Air pollution
  • Sparklers
  • Size distribution measurements
  • Barium
  • Nanoparticles
  • Pyrotechnics