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Abstract and Figures

New Year's Eve is an example of a situation in which urban residents are exposed to an almost continuous and increased noise level from the impulsive sounds sources-fireworks. This custom has become a source of many controversies related to the protection of human and animal health or environmental pollution. However, current legal regulations only slightly affect the subject of noise of fireworks and its harmfulness. Currently, it does not seem possible to completely prohibit the use of fireworks in urban areas, but this does not mean that it is not possible to decrease the degree of their annoyance. The paper consists the issues of identification, analysis and assessment of impulsive noise of fireworks and acoustic climate during New Year's Eve. Material presented refers to measurements of time series, frequency spectrum and values of noise parameters of selected fireworks. It was presented, among others, that the measured values exceed the criteria for occupational noise (L Cpeak), due to the direct hazard of hearing loss, from 1.8 dB at a distance of 25 m and 6.2 dB at a distance of 15 m. Also this work discusses results of impulsive noise measurements of fireworks recorded during New Year's Eve in years 2016-2017. Material refers to measurements at three measurement points spread over the city of Kraków. Obtained results were compared with typical noise levels for night time in urban area, indicating also the main sources of annoyance and hazard from this type of noise.
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ARCHIVES OF ACOUSTICS
Vol. 43, No. 4, pp. 697–705 (2018)
Copyright ©2018 by PAN – IPPT
DOI: 10.24425/aoa.2018.125163
The Impact of Fireworks Noise on the Acoustic Climate in Urban Areas
Bartłomiej KUKULSKI, Tadeusz WSZOŁEK, Dominik MLECZKO
Department of Mechanics and Vibroacoustics
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics
AGH University of Science and Technology
Al. Mickiewicza 30, 30-059 Kraków, Poland; e-mail: {kukulski, twszolek, dmleczko}@agh.edu.pl
(received March 26, 2018; accepted July 11, 2018 )
New Year’s Eve is an example of a situation in which urban residents are exposed to an almost con-
tinuous and increased noise level from the impulsive sounds sources – fireworks. This custom has become
a source of many controversies related to the protection of human and animal health or environmental
pollution. However, current legal regulations only slightly affect the subject of noise of fireworks and its
harmfulness. Currently, it does not seem possible to completely prohibit the use of fireworks in urban
areas, but this does not mean that it is not possible to decrease the degree of their annoyance.
The paper consists the issues of identification, analysis and assessment of impulsive noise of fireworks
and acoustic climate during New Year’s Eve. Material presented refers to measurements of time series,
frequency spectrum and values of noise parameters of selected fireworks. It was presented, among others,
that the measured values exceed the criteria for occupational noise (LCpeak), due to the direct hazard of
hearing loss, from 1.8 dB at a distance of 25 m and 6.2 dB at a distance of 15 m. Also this work discusses
results of impulsive noise measurements of fireworks recorded during New Year’s Eve in years 2016–2017.
Material refers to measurements at three measurement points spread over the city of Kraków. Obtained
results were compared with typical noise levels for night time in urban area, indicating also the main
sources of annoyance and hazard from this type of noise.
Keywords: impulsive noise; fireworks; environmental noise.
1. Introduction
Fireworks shows during the New Year’s Eve are
one of the inherent and at the same time spectac-
ular elements of greeting the coming new year. The
term ‘fireworks’ describes various types of pyrotech-
nic products used for entertainment and signaling pur-
poses, which emit colourful lighting as well as acous-
tic effects (impulsive noise). Fireworks belong to the
group of explosives, so-called low explosive, i.e. chem-
ical compounds in which the rate of decomposition
passes through the material at a speed below the speed
of sound (Russell, 2009).
Recently, the growing trend is the abandonment
of the pyrotechnic show at the expense of the major
city events organizer. For example, the city of Kraków
has not organized a firework show on New Year’s Eve
since 2012. Such a decision was caused by many factors
such as caring for animals, fear of weather conditions
or even the cost of pyrotechnic materials along with the
infrastructure. Nevertheless, Kraków is not a city that
celebrates this special night in silence. The fireworks
purchased by the residents are fired well before mid-
night, and the last explosions can be heard even the
next day. As in probably every other city in Poland,
or even in Europe, it is vain to find a place where the
noise generated by fireworks does not reach.
Analyzing the literature, it is hard to find articles
dealing only or mainly with the noise aspects of fire-
works. Among the available items, one can find pa-
pers on the measurement of physical noise parameters
(Maglieri, Henderson, 1973; Babu, Azhagura-
jan, 2010), statistical description of fireworks noise
(Deˇ
zelak, ˇ
Cudina, 2004) or exposure to noise of fire-
works during festivals (Passos et al., 2015).
In the medical literature, one can find a lot of
papers on injuries caused by fireworks, but these
are mainly information about burns or broken limbs
(Tandon et al., 2012). Nevertheless, there are pa-
pers that investigate the subject of noise, regarding
the acoustic trauma due to noise exposure of fire-
works (Plontke et al., 2002; Fleischer et al., 2003),
698 Archives of Acoustics Volume 43, Number 4, 2018
or regarding hearing loss due to the noise of fire-
works (Ward, Glorig, 1961; Smoorenburg, 1993;
Clark, Bohne, 1999) including children (Gupta,
Vishwakarma, 1989; Brookhouser et al., 1992,
Smith et al., 1996; Segal et al., 2003), as well as
hearing damage caused by the leisure noise (Maassen
et al., 2001). There are also publications about human
risk due to noise while staying in various places within
life activity, lack of appropriate criteria for noise haz-
ard assessment and requirements for concerning inves-
tigations in some cases (Korbiel et al., 2017).
In the mass media, the harmfulness of fireworks is
referred to rather as a loss of life or permanent dis-
ability, less often in the aspect of hearing damage or
acoustic trauma. In preventive and educational pro-
grams (Polish Police, National Council on Fireworks
Safety) the emphasis is put on, e.g. purchasing from
a legal and verified source, maintaining a safe distance,
or firing fireworks with all precautions, but not men-
tioning the use of hearing protectors, possible conse-
quences of direct exposure to impulsive noise or other
effects, such as feeling unwell, concentration or sleep
disorders (Kryter, 2013).
2. Firework noise regulations
A large number of countries have their own regu-
lations on pyrotechnics. In Poland, such a document
is the law on explosives for civil use (Journal of Laws
No. 2002, 117, item 1007). However, this is a document
covering many aspects related to explosives, and con-
sequently, from the acoustical point of view, the only
law referring to noise control is Article 62c concerning
the classification of pyrotechnic articles placed on the
market and the limitations of this classification. Unfor-
tunately, the legislator did not provide any guidelines
on the measurement or permissible noise levels gen-
erated by fireworks. There are only unspecified terms
such as: irrelevant or harmless noise level.
Table 1. Safety and noise related regulations of fireworks (source: Directive 2013/29/EU).
Cat. Definition Minimum age Safe distance
[m]
Max SPL
[dBA, imp]
F1
Fireworks which present a very low hazard and negligible noise
level and which are intended for use in confined areas, including
fireworks which are intended for use inside domestic buildings.
12 1 120
F2 Fireworks which present a low hazard and low noise level and
which are intended for outdoor use in confined areas. 16 8 120
F3
Fireworks which present a medium hazard, which are intended
for outdoor use in large open areas and whose noise level is not
harmful to human health.
18 15 120
F4
Fireworks which present a high hazard, which are intended
for use only by persons with specialist knowledge (commonly
known as fireworks for professional use) and whose noise level
is not harmful to human health.
18 undefined undefined
More information on, e.g. permissible noise lev-
els generated by fireworks can be found in the Di-
rective of the European Parliament and of the Coun-
cil of 12 June 2013 on the harmonisation of the laws
of the Member States relating to the making avail-
able on the market of pyrotechnic articles (Directive
2013/29/EU). Annex I on essential safety requirements
sets out, inter alia, the minimum safe distance from
the pyrotechnic material and the maximum noise level
where the value of which is set at “120 dB (A, imp)
or an equivalent noise level measured by another ap-
propriate method, at the safety distance”. There are
doubts here about the lack of information on metro-
logical conditions or even the fact that it is not
unequivocally stated that the maximum sound level
(A, imp) should be treated as the LAI max parameter,
the A-weighted maximum sound pressure level mea-
sured with the time constant I or maybe LApeak
the highest recorded value of A-weighted sound pres-
sure level. It is also unclear what to be consider as
“another appropriate method”. This parameter is also
questionable in the view of the standard for sound level
meters (IEC 61672-1:2013, Annex C – Specifications
for time-weighting I (impulse)), which contains the re-
quirements for the time weighting F and S only, aban-
doning time weighting I because of the poor correlation
with actual measurements of impulsive sounds. Com-
plementary to the Directive 2013/29/EU are the series
of standards EN 15947 with part 4 on test methods
for pyrotechnic materials (PN-EN 15947-4:2016-02).
According to the recommendations, one has to mea-
sure the maximum impulse A-weighted sound pres-
sure level by the sound level meter sound placed at
a height of 1 m and at distances defined for a given
category of fireworks.
In Poland, Regulation of the Minister of Labour
and Social Policy (Journal of Laws 2017, item 1348),
includes the occupational exposure limit value, ELV
(in Poland: NDN) for assessing occupational noise.
B. Kukulski et al. The Impact of Fireworks Noise on the Acoustic Climate in Urban Areas 699
According to this Regulations a noise in the work
environment is characterized by the following indi-
cators:
A-weighted noise exposure level normalized to
an 8 h working day or the noise exposure level
related to the working week (permissible value
85 dB, action value 80 dB);
A-weighted maximum sound pressure level
(permissible value 115 dB);
C-weighted peak sound pressure level (permissible
value 135 dB, action value 135 dB).
The last two indicators relate to hearing protection
against the hazard of direct damage and they could
also be applied in case of noise from fireworks.
Both the law on explosives for civil use and Di-
rective 2013/29/EU do not provide any methodology
to perform noise measurements, or even information
about what standard or regulations should be used
when measuring and assessing fireworks noise. Never-
theless, depending on the measurement situation, it
is always worth considering the methodologies pro-
posed in the environmental noise measurement stan-
dard (ISO 1996-1, 2016; ISO 1996-2, 2017) or at occu-
pational noise (ISO 1999, 2013).
3. Impact of firework noise on acoustic climate
of urban area
During the New Year’s night, high-level impulsive
noise is generated by the explosions of various types of
fireworks. Due to the huge number of impulsive events
Fig. 1. Measurement points in the city of Kraków (source: maps.google.com).
(reaching several dozen thousand or more), it is al-
most impossible to separate individual sources from
each other, hence the noise from fireworks can be con-
sidered as continuous at certain time intervals.
As previously noted, in inner-city areas it is very
difficult for residents to isolate themself from the noise
of fireworks. What is more, most of them, especially
around the midnight, go outside to watch firework
shows. Therefore, a large part of the society is exposed
during this night to high-level impulsive noise, while
very rarely (if at all) people are wearing hearing pro-
tectors. On the other hand, a significant number of the
residents launch the fireworks themselves that night,
exposing themselves to the direct exposure of very high
peak sound pressure levels.
In order to examine the scale of fireworks noise and
its potential impact on residents exposed to impulsive
noise, a series of noise measurements in an urban area
environment was performed. Measurement equipment
was located at a height of 1.5 m in relation to the floor
at three points located on balconies or in window open-
ings of flats located in three districts of Kraków:
Point 1: Prądnik Biały district, measurement
point on the balcony on the 9th floor of the block
in the vicinity of publicly accessible areas, such as
the football pitch or school;
Point 2: Prądnik Czerwony district, measurement
point on the balcony on the 8th floor of the block
in a closed housing estate;
Point 3: Grzegórzki district, measurement point
located in the window opening on the 4th floor of
the block on an open, low-rise housing estate.
700 Archives of Acoustics Volume 43, Number 4, 2018
Table 2 presents measurement results of noise indi-
cators: LAeq,1h,LAmax ,LApeak,LCpeak as well as sta-
tistical levels LA10,LA50,LA90 and LA95 . The LAeq,1h
parameter represents the A-weighted equivalent sound
pressure level set for the most unfavourable hour dur-
ing the New Year’s Eve, for which the interval between
11:30 PM and 0:30 AM was assumed. The results were
compared with the typical (i.e. without the presence of
impulsive noise sources) overnight noise for the same
time interval. Additionally, for measurements on New
Year’s Eve, a rating equivalent sound pressure level
LReq,1h was determined by adding an adjustment for
impulsive character of the noise, KI=11.7dB accord-
ing to PN-ISO 1996-2:1999/A1:2002. The determina-
tion of rating levels is mandatory in the assessment
of environmental noise, in which the noise components
that may cause increased annoyance, such as tonality
or impulsiveness,are present (ISO 1996-1, 2016).
Table 2. Noise indicators for New Year’s Eve (NYE) com-
pared to typical nighttime derived for data obtained be-
tween 11:30 PM and 0:30 AM.
Point 1 Point 2 Point 3
NYE Typical NYE Typical NYE Typical
LAeq,1h [dB] 79.3 52.8 74.5 47.2 77.1 45.6
LReq,1h [dB] 91.0 – 86.2 – 88.8 –
LAF max [dB] 110.1 66.7 102.9 61.3 110.8 63.4
LApeak [dB] 136.5 76.7 126.1 78.6 136.4 77.5
LCpeak [dB] 136.5 85.2 126.5 86.4 137.4 83.9
LA10 [dB] 79.8 56.0 78.3 49.5 74.4 48.2
LA50 [dB] 70.3 51.8 65.7 46.3 65.6 41.3
LA90 [dB] 63.9 49.4 59.9 43.9 58.9 38.6
LA95 [dB] 61.5 48.4 58.6 41.9 56.0 36.2
LAeq,1h – A-weighted equivalent sound pressure level
for 1-hour interval, dB; LReq,1h – rating equivalent
sound pressure level for 1-hour interval, dB; LAF max
A-weighted maximum sound pressure level, dB; LApeak ,
LCpeak – peak sound pressure level with A or C weight-
ing, dB; LAn%– A-weighted sound pressure level ex-
ceeded for n% of the measurement time, dB.
During the observation, both for points 1 and 3,
exposure level value for LCpeak has been exceeded
(with equally high LApeak values) (Journal of Laws
2017, item 1348). Only in the case of point 2, such
exceedances did not occur, probably because the mea-
surement point was located inside a closed housing es-
tate, hence limited number of fireworks launched in
the close vicinity of the sound meter was registered
(despite the fact that the dominant noise was the one
from the fireworks). Nevertheless, the values exceed-
ing 125 dB may still be harmful to the auditory sys-
tem. This is also reflected in the results of LAmax,
which values in points 1 and 3 exceed 110 dB. In each
of the three measurement points, obtained equivalent
sound pressure level LAeq,1h, reaches very high val-
ues, similar to the statistical level LA10. The differ-
ence between LA10 and LAeq,1h is 0.5 dB, 3.8 dB and
2.7dB respectively. Rating equivalent sound pressure
level LReq,1h at each measurement point reaches high
values, the highest level was calculated in point 1 and
equals 91.0 dB.
As expected, the values of all parameters measured
for a typical noise at night are lower than those mea-
sured on New Year’s night by several dozen decibels,
and those differences are often in range of 50–60 dB.
4. Analysis of impulsive sound sources
The purpose of this part of the paper was to de-
termine the noise that reaches the resident’s ear every
time the fireworks are fired, assuming that residents
do not use hearing protectors and stay in the mini-
mum safe distance from the explosion, specified by the
manufacturer. The need for such measurements is es-
sential due to the fact that firework manufacturers do
not provide any information about the noise level gen-
erated by their products.
The research material consisted of two types of
single-shot firecrackers and a 25-shot fireworks battery.
Parameters of all materials used are presented in Ta-
ble 3. Measurements were made during the daytime in
the open space using sound level meters: SVAN 945A,
SVAN 958, and SVAN 959 placed on a tripod (Fig. 2).
As mentioned in Sec. 2, according to the PN-EN
15947-4:2016-02 standard, the measurements should
be carried out at a height of 1 m, while the aim of
this work was not to examine the compatibility of py-
rotechnic materials with the requirements set by the
standard, but the impact of its noise on humans. Thus,
a measuring height of 1.5 m was assumed as the height
at which human ears are placed. Each time the meter
was set at the minimum safe distance for the opera-
tor, depending on the category of fireworks, i.e. 8 m
for firecracker A (category F2), 15 m for firecracker B
and for fireworks battery (category F3), as well as 25 m
Table 3. Material for measurement.
Cracker A Cracker B Battery
of fireworks
Category F2 F3 F3
No of shoots 1 1 25
Total duration
of shoot [s] 23.5 35–40
Length,
diameter [mm] 50/3.8 62/15.5 230/30
Weight
of explosive [g] 0.1 2.1 >100 (total)
B. Kukulski et al. The Impact of Fireworks Noise on the Acoustic Climate in Urban Areas 701
a) b)
Fig. 2. Measurement points for sound level meters used for registering the noise of firecrackers (a) and 25-shots fireworks
battery (b).
(minimum safe distance for the spectators – not men-
tioned in the PN-EN 15947-4:2016-02 and Directive
2013/29/EU).
Fifteen explosions were recorded for each type of
firecracker tested and one full run of 25-shots fireworks
battery. Determined parameters of noise were saved
using time weighting F, as well as the frequency spec-
trum. The registration step was set to 50 ms and the
Fig. 3. Time series of LAeq for explosions of Cracker A and Cracker B.
Fig. 4. Time series of LAeq for explosion of battery of fireworks.
frequency band was limited to the range 20–20000 Hz,
limited due to the sample length (50 ms) and band-
width in the low frequency range. In practice, the 1/3
octave spectrum was recorded correctly in bands above
100 Hz. Examples of registered time series (waveforms)
are presented in Figs. 3 and 4.
A comparison of the obtained parameters of noise
results and impulsive noise descriptors is presented in
702 Archives of Acoustics Volume 43, Number 4, 2018
Table 4. For firecracker A and firecracker B two results
were presented: the “worst case” value, i.e. the mea-
surement in which the highest parameter values were
achieved, as well as the median value from the sample;
whereas in the case of fireworks batteries a combined
measurement was made, on the basis of which the max-
imum values for each parameter were determined.
The distributions of the SEL spectrum at minimum
safe distances for the operator and the spectators, to-
gether with the background noise spectrum are pre-
sented in Figs. 5–7.
All of the three types of fireworks generate very
high sound pressure levels. The estimated values of
A-weighted maximum sound power level, calculated
from data measured at operator position, for each of
fireworks exceeds 135 dB. Median peak sound pres-
Table 4. Values of noise parameters and impulsive noise descriptors for Cracker A, Cracker B and for battery of fireworks.
Cracker A
(worst case/median)
Cracker B
(worst case/median)
Battery of fireworks
(max. from 25 pcs.)
Distance from the source 8 m 25 m 15 m 25 m 15 m 25 m
LCpeak [dB] 139.8
137.9
122.3
119.4
140.0
139.8
131.1
128.3 141.2 136.8
LApeak [dB] 139.5
137.9
122.8
120.0
139.6
139.5
131.4
128.7 141.3 136.1
LCF max [dB] 112.6
109.7
91.1
89.3
118.5
116.5
103.0
99.7 119.1 115.5
LAF max [dB] 112.7
109.1
90.6
88.3
115.1
113.6
99.8
96.5 118.8 111.2
LAS max [dB] 104.2
103.6
80.1
77.8
106.2
104.1
89.4
85.9 108.4 100.7
LAI max [dB] 116.3
112.7
94.2
91.9
118.7
117.2
103.4
100.1 122.4 114.8
LCE [dB] 103.9
100.8
82.5
80.7
110.1
108.0
94.7
91.8 119.8 117.6
LAE [dB] 103.8
100.5
82.0
79.6
106.8
105.1
91.2
88.8 116.5 113.3
DLE=LCE LAE [dB] 0.1
0.3
0.0
0.9
1.7
2.9
1.4
2.9 3.3 4.3
IA=LApeak LAeq,T[dB] 52.8
50.2
44.1
41.6
53.0
48.6
45.8
41.9 40.8 38.8
LA=LAmax LAt [dB] 65.7
62.1
45.9
43.6
68.1
66.6
55.1
51.8 67.8 64.2
VLA =LA/trise [dB/s] 1314
1241
918
872
1362
1331
1102
1036 1356 1284
LWA =LAmax +10 log 4πr2
Q[dB]138.9
135.3 146.6
145.1 – 158.4
LCF max ,LAF max – C/A-weighted maximum sound pressure level with time weighting F, dB; LAI max,LAS max
A-weighted maximum sound pressure level with time weighting I/S, dB; LCE ,LAE – C/A-weighted sound exposure
level, dB; DLE – difference in C and A-weighted sound exposure levels; IA– impulsiveness (crest level), where LAeq,T
represents A-weighted equivalent sound pressure level for impulsive event duration (Kukulski, 2017); LA– increase
in sound pressure level, where LAt – A-weighted sound pressure level before impulsive event (Wszołek, 2015); VLA
rapidity of impulse rise, where trise represents time in which signal rises from 10% to 90% of its maximum absolute value
of the sound pressure (ISO 10843:1997); LWA – A-weighted sound power level.
For Cracker A and Cracker B, directivity factor Q=2, for battery of fireworks, Q=1.
sure level LCpeak and LApeak, measured at the min-
imum safe distances for the operator, are respec-
tively 137.9 dB (both C-weighted and A-weighted)
for firecracker A, 139.8 dB (C-weighted) and 139.5 dB
(A-weighted) for firecracker B, while in the case of the
battery of fireworks, measured the highest values of
these parameters were equal to 141.2 dB (C-weighted)
and 141.3 dB (A-weighted). At the minimum dis-
tance for the spectators, obtained (respectively C-we-
ighted and A-weighted) 119.4 dB and 120.0 dB (fire-
cracker A), 128.3 dB and 128.7 dB (firecracker B),
136.8 dB and 136.1 dB (battery of fireworks).
Similarly, in the case of maximum levels, very high
values of LCF max and LAF max parameters were regis-
tered at the operator position. The median of these pa-
rameters was respectively: 109.7 dB and 109.1 dB (fire-
B. Kukulski et al. The Impact of Fireworks Noise on the Acoustic Climate in Urban Areas 703
Fig. 5. Sound exposure level spectrum of Cracker A compared to background noise.
Fig. 6. Sound exposure level spectrum of Cracker B compared to background noise.
Fig. 7. Sound exposure level spectrum of fireworks battery compared to background noise.
cracker A), 116.5 dB and 113.6 dB (firecracker B), and
for battery of fireworks the maximum values reached
the level of 119.1 dB and 118.8 dB. At the spectators
point, those levels are definitely smaller, respectively
over 20 dB lower in the case of A firecracker, over 15 dB
for B firecracker, while in the case of battery of fire-
704 Archives of Acoustics Volume 43, Number 4, 2018
works, these differences do not exceed 10 dB. Values
of LAI max were derived from waveforms by change in
time weighting in post-processing phase.
Sound exposure levels are also very diverse, which
is caused, among others, by the amount of explosive
inside the firework. That amount affects the content
of low-frequency components in the spectrum (Figs. 5
and 6). The exposure level for battery of fireworks
was also derived for the total duration of the py-
rotechnic show, which caused much higher values of
these parameters. In addition, along with the dis-
tance, the difference in the exposure levels, DLE, in-
creases. This is quite obvious due to the strong atten-
uation at higher frequencies through the propagation
of sound.
All from the three examples of fireworks are char-
acterized by high values of descriptors IA,LA,VLA ,
which confirms the impulsive nature of these sound
sources. The values of these parameters decrease with
the distance from the source, however, regardless of the
sound source and distance, these parameters clearly in-
dicate a strong impulsiveness of recorded signals.
Also, when analyzing deformation of sound expo-
sure level spectrum along with distance, one can ob-
serve the high frequencies attenuation effect in the air.
The biggest differences were observed for firecracker A,
for which the differences in particular bands are over
20 dB (bands 315–800 Hz and 10–16 kHz). For fire-
cracker B such large differences occur only in the bands
400 and 500 Hz, while deformation of spectrum for bat-
tery of fireworks is negligible and visible only in high
frequency bands. This can be explained by the rel-
atively large height of the source and the “straight”
sound propagation path.
It should be emphasized, when assessing with the
guidelines for minimum safe distance, the permissible
value of the maximum noise level equal to 120 dB, as
defined in the Directive of the European Parliament
and of the Council (Directive 2013/29/EU) is not ex-
ceeded for both firecrackers, and slightly exceeded for
battery of fireworks. However, taking into account the
permissible Exposure Level Values contained in the
Regulation of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy
(Journal of Laws 2017, item 1348), it can be observed
that peak levels exceed the ELV for firecrackers and
battery of fireworks. In the case of both firecrackers,
a distance of 25 m for the spectators is relatively safe,
while for battery of fireworks there is a slight exceed-
ing in LCpeak, i.e. 1.8 dB. At the minimum distance
in which the operator may be present, LCpeak values
regularly exceed ELV by approximately 2–5 dB in the
case of firecrackers type A and B, and for battery of
fireworks, 6.2 dB. On the other hand, there is no re-
sults of the A-weighted maximum sound pressure level
LAS max that exceed 115 dB according to regulations
(Journal of Laws 2017, item 1348) for each of exam-
ined firework type.
5. Conclusions
The limited number of legal regulations regarding
the noise generated by fireworks and the imprecise ter-
minology of the harmfulness criteria are a significant
gap in the field of research into environmental noise.
Unfortunately, at the same time the issue of hearing
protection is still neglected in preventive social actions.
There is the need for an extension of the research rec-
ommendations of the safety of pyrotechnics to the is-
sue of hearing protection, as well as creating a new
methodology for precise determination of noise and its
impact on human.
Such a need is confirmed by the measurement re-
sults presented in the paper, indicating harmful to the
hearing system values of peak and maximum sound
pressure levels, both in the operator and spectators lo-
cations. The measured values exceed the criteria for
occupational noise, due to the direct hazard of hear-
ing loss, from 1.8 dB at a distance of 25 m and 6.2 dB
at a distance of 15 m. What is more, when consid-
ering that those maximum and peak sound pressure
level for potential impact on young people and preg-
nant women, limits must be set 5 dB lower, and thus
exceeding will be about 5 dB higher. This assumption
raises the urgent need to provide unambiguous infor-
mation on fireworks at a safe distance including also
the information about risk of permanent hearing loss.
With the above, there is a need to develop a methodol-
ogy for determining these parameters and criteria for
evaluation the harmfulness of the fireworks.
Analysis of noise at minimum safe distances in-
dicates the necessity of using personal protective
equipment (hearing protectors) obligatory by fireworks
operators, but it should also be recommended to the
spectators, even though the levels recorded in this
point do not exceed the permissible noise levels.
Acknowledgments
This project has been funded by the academic grant
No. 15.11.130.625.
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