By Andrew RobbinsSpecial to CSMS MagazineIt’s almost time for our annual Fireworks displays! A glorious time when the evening skies are filled with bursting showers of beautiful colors. But did you know these colorful displays—the product of many mineral components—come with a health risk? Minerals in fireworks are the substances that produce colors. Each fireworks color is produced from a separate mineral or group of minerals. The brilliant colors and loud noise are a reaction to the mineral’s chemical composition with extreme heat. For example, barium in barite produces the green color. Fireworks displays pose two perils. The first danger is the actual explosive devise or propellant at lift off. The second danger is found in the clouds of minerals drifting in the air after each successive volley. Fireworks convert solid minerals into vapor-like substances. These clouds of mineral debris drift in your breathable air. Your body accumulates inhaled minerals. Mineral particles are the source of several non-malignant, but often life-ending illnesses, and they may be the source of malignant illnesses. With our example mineral, inhalation of barium results in a benign but restrictive lung condition called baritosis. The smallest and most harmful fibers pass through the lungs’ air sacs directly into the blood stream and lymph fluids. This fluid highway provides these alien materials free movement throughout your body, where they are virtually impossible to remove. Each exposure increases the mineral fiber load in your body, and repeated exposures act as an illness-onset trigger point. Mineral debris that is not expelled from lungs may result in a wide variety of illnesses. Many minerals have absorption qualities and they adhere to lung tissue, where they stiffen and calcify. Loss of lung elasticity (the natural ability to breathe effortlessly) is first noticed as shortness of breath on exertion. How various minerals create specific illnesses is an unexplored field of science. Laboratory analyses of placental tissues confirm inhaled minerals do transfer from exposed mothers to their unborn children. What goes up must come down. Children crawl and play outdoors and they are most likely to encounter our environmental pollution. Over 4,000 minerals have been documented and not one is safe for you to inhale. A long life without illness demands that you remain vigilant of your surroundings. Mineral fiber illnesses are preventable. Education and prevention are the keys to a healthy lifestyle.Andrew Robbins is the author of It Took My Breath Away: One Man’s Experience May Save Your Life. He is our newest collaborator. He lives in Minnesota.