Just in time for the July 4th fireworks, I saw this news from ICIS about scientists trying to develop pyrotechnic formulations in missiles and fireworks that eliminate the use of perchlorate, a chemical identified as a groundwater contaminant.
Perchlorate is used as an oxidizer in fireworks and missile weaponry. A 2007 EPA report said the perchlorate level in certain lakes spiked as high as 1,000 times its baseline value within hours of fireworks display. It took anywhere from 20 to 80 days for the perchlorate level to come down to its background level.
Scientists are said to be developing new pyrotechnic formulations that replace perchlorate with nitrogen-rich materials or nitrocellulose that burn cleaner and produce less smoke.
I hope they can commercialize eco-friendly fireworks soon! Although I wonder how they can address price competition though? I’m sure these new eco-friendly fireworks will come with a heftier price tag. Maybe the EPA should start banning perc-filled fireworks to drive faster development of more green pyrotechnics.