Fireworks Contribute To Bad Air Quality In The Desert

Poor air quality is likely in areas throughout parts of Los Angeles and Orange Counties and the Inland Empire on July 4th through July 5th due to fireworks related to Independence Day celebrations.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) may reach the Hazardous AQI category from the evening of Thursday, July 4th through the early afternoon on Friday, July 5th due to fine particle pollution from fireworks.

  • Fireworks emit high levels of particle pollution (PM2.5 and PM10) as well as metal air pollutants, all of which can contribute to negative health effects
  • Personal “backyard” fireworks may lead to localized fine particulate matter concentrations above observed regional levels
  • Fine particle pollution levels on July 4th and July 5th are typically among the worst (highest) days of the year in the South Coast Air Basin
  • The smoke and combustion products from fireworks add to the fine particles already present in the Basin that are primarily caused by transportation and industrial emissions
  • The use of consumer grade “backyard” fireworks can also spark wildfires, which can be a major source of fine particle pollution
  • Ozone levels unrelated to the Independence Day celebrations will contribute to high AQI in the Very Unhealthy AQI category in the afternoon and evening hours. Visit the South Coast AQMD Advisories page for information about high ozone levels.
  • Visit the South Coast AQMD Independence Day Fireworks Air Quality Assessment page for additional information about Independence Day fireworks


Health Impacts

Breathing of fine particulate matter can lead to a wide variety of cardiovascular and respiratory health effects such as heart attacks, asthma aggravation, decreased lung function, coughing, or difficulty breathing and may lead to premature death in people with heart or lung disease.

To view current air quality in your neighborhood, download the South Coast AQMD app or visit