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A fireworks show lights up the sky just days ahead of the Fourth of July at Santa Monica College on June 30, 2018.

A fireworks show lights up the sky just days ahead of the Fourth of July at Santa Monica College on June 30, 2018.

Americans’ fervor for Fourth of July fireworks has some unfortunate side effects.

There’s a jump in fires, gruesome injuries and runaway pets spooked by the noise.

But there’s also a more widespread hazard from the yearly outburst of pyrotechnics: It spikes air pollution so sharply it becomes dangerous for everyone to breathe.

Independence Day and July 5 consistently have some of the worst air quality of the year. With so many fireworks going off at once, levels of fine-particle pollution — a stew of tiny, lung-damaging specks of toxic soot, smoke and ash known as PM2.5 — surge several times higher than federal health standards across Southern California, air monitoring data show.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

Downtown Los Angeles' air pollution spiked in 2017 overnight on July 4. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

Downtown Los Angeles’ air pollution spiked in 2017 overnight on July 4. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)