GREENWOOD, Ind. -- It's something you may not think about as you set off fireworks this Fourth of July, but you should. Those fireworks could contain chemicals that can contaminate Indiana's waterways.
Indiana American Water, the state's largest investor-owned water utility, says a common compound called perchlorate is still found in many fireworks.
Perchlorate has been known to create problems with the human thyroid gland, according to the United States Geological Survey.
"We encourage all those who are planning to light off fireworks as part of their celebrations to be aware of their surroundings and keep clear of waterways to help ensure Indiana's water supply stays clean," said Deborah Dewey, Indiana American Water president.
To lessen the amount of firework debris that enters our waterways, Indiana American Water suggests:
- Immediately clean up fireworks debris. Shells can be high in perchlorates and when left on the ground, can get into ground water
- Dispose of malfunctioning fireworks properly. Put 'duds' in water in a container to ensure runoff doesn't go into the ground
- Request low perchlorate fireworks
American Water says the U.S. military has been working to create more environmentally-friendly explosives charges and encourages the fireworks industry to do the same.