Tell Iceland to Nix Banned,Toxic Fireworks This New Year’s Eve

 Target: People of Iceland

Goal: Make Sure Fireworks Don’t Contain HCB

In Iceland, a tradional New Year’s Eve consists of setting off fireworks like there’s no tomorrow—but this tradition could come at a deadly cost. Though the known carcinogen Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) was banned worldwide from manufacturing in the 1990’s, some places that don’t enforce environmental regulations continue to use the toxic chemical. In 2010 it was publicized that the fireworks used for Iceland’s New Years celebration contained high levels of HCB. The chemical, most known for its pesticide use, causes the colors to be more vibrant. These fireworks were imported to Iceland from other countries but were not subject to much of a safety screening. Two years later, HCB was still found in alarmingly high amounts in fireworks sold in Iceland. HCB is unsafe for humans and the environment. Call on Iceland to ensure that any fireworks they use this New Years are HCB-free.

A “safe” amount of HCB is 50 mg/kg. Last year, fireworks sold in Iceland contained a whopping 600 mg/kg. This is after it came to light that the banned chemical was found in this product. HCB can be consumed, breathed in, or absorbed through the skin. It can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, reproductive system, blood, and skin. The chemical bioaccumulates in humans and animals, which means that it increases in concentration once in the body.  HCB is devastating to the environment as well. Once it enters into the soil, it takes about 15 years to degrade. From there, it can run off into water sources in which animals live and from which humans drink.

Iceland needs to take this threat to their health and land seriously. Many fireworks can last a couple years, and people may be tempted to use one they bought in the past. However, it could contain high levels of the toxic pollutant. It is up to the stores that buy imported fireworks to check their components. It is up to the consumer to check if HCB is in a product before they buy it. It can be listed under a variety of names, such as Hexa CB, Co-op Hexa, No Bunt, Bunt-No-More and many others. A full list can be found here in a document from the Environment Agency.

Sign this petition and urge the people of Iceland to refrain from turning a New Year celebration into an environmental disaster.


Dear People of Iceland,

New Years Eve is right around the corner. It is tradition to blast off fireworks in celebration of the year that has passed and the new one to come. However, dangerously high levels of the known carcinogen HCB have been found in fireworks throughout Iceland. They have toxic effects for the human body, and are even worse once released into the environment. Last year, fireworks sold in Iceland contained up to twelve times more HCB than what is considered safe for humans.

The chemical has been banned worldwide for around two decades, yet illegally remains in many of the fireworks sold in Iceland. Stores need to monitor which manufacturers they buy from, and thoroughly investigate whether the fireworks contain HCB. Consumers need to be aware as well in order to make informed decisions about this. If you have old fireworks, do not set them off as they more than likely contain very high levels of HCB.


[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. Ruth Rogers Ruth Rogers says:


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