Want to wow your neighbors this Saturday with some bright and cheery Fourth of July trvia? Tell them about the dangers of perchlorate, the molecule that helps fireworks burn longer. According to experts at DMD Systems who study explosive materials, the molecules are not only harmful to the environment, but to humans as well–-and repeated exposure poses health risks.
The good news is that scientists are developing new "green" fireworks--as in environmentally sound, not the color--that burn nitrogen-based fuels. They also use less smoke and contain fewer toxins.