During the troubles in Northern Ireland only indoor-type fireworks could be purchased without a special license. Analysis of particles originating from the use of indoor-type fireworks showed only a few spherical particles; the majority was large irregularly shaped flakes. The elements aluminum, barium, chlorine, chromium, iron, potassium, sulfur, and antimony were detected, all of which were at a major level.
Analysis of particles originating from the use of outdoor fireworks revealed that the majority of the particles was irregular, many were crystalline, and many large flakes were present. A small proportion of the particles were spherical and physically resembled FDR particles. Elemental analysis showed the presence of aluminum, arsenic, barium, calcium, chlorine, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, sodium, lead, sulfur, antimony, silicon, strontium, titanium, zinc, and zirconium. None of the particles detected would be confused with FDR particles as the primary FDR elements were always accompanied by elements that were clearly of non-FDR source.
In conclusion, lead, antimony, and barium may be encountered in pyrotechnics, in both fireworks and flares. Lead and antimony were present in toy caps but were not found occurring together. Antimony-only was detected in matches. None of these sources should be confused with FDR particles as their morphology and/or elemental content differs. (The text on toy caps, matches, flares, and fireworks represents the conclusions of the work conducted, as the details and results were lost in the terrorist explosion at the NIFSL in September 1992.)
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