, Kingston, NH

Letters to the Editor

July 4, 2013

Firework Safety

Firework Safety

Consumer fireworks are truly safer today than ever before. Today’s

smarter buying public, recognizing that fireworks essentially function via a controlled burn, use the products carefully and with good common sense resulting in more use of consumer fireworks and fewer injuries.

In 1994, the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory (”AFSL”) began testing fireworks in China for compliance with U.S. manufacturing and performance standards as enforced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (”CPSC”). In addition to the testing program, the AFSL’s Standards Committee reviews the standards with a view to increasing the safety margins and making the products safer. The AFSL also conducts seminars in China on quality control and makes factory visits to improve the manufacturing process.

In 1994, the first year AFSL conducted its testing program, some 117

million pounds of fireworks were imported into the U.S. That year, CPSC

reported 12,500 fireworks-related injuries in the country. By 2011, with a

very improved AFSL testing protocol, fireworks imports into the U.S. grew 100% to 234.1 million pounds, but the number of fireworks-related injuries dropped by over 23% to 9,600. We anticipate fewer injuries in the next reporting year.

Of the 9,600 fireworks-related injuries, the CPSC’s own data suggests

43.4% of the injuries are from unspecified firecrackers, homemade and altered devices, illegal explosives, professional displays, and other unspecified devices. If over 43% of the injuries have nothing to do with consumer fireworks, the improvement in injury statistics even better.

If you factor in use to the injury statistics, the improvement in fireworks-related injuries is even more impressive. Based on injuries measured per 100,000 pounds of imported fireworks, there has been an amazing 61.68% reduction in injuries from 10.7 per 100,000 pounds in 1994 to 4.1 per, 100,000 pounds in 2011.

The CPSC, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the American Pyrotechnics Association, and the National Council on Fireworks Safety, Inc., together with most of the larger fireworks companies, all sponsor public relations initiatives and press conferences aimed at promoting fireworks safety and warning against the use of illegal explosives.

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