Fireworks are safer than in the old days

Published 8:20 am Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fireworks-related injuries are at an all-time low, which makes a strong case for changing the old and out-dated consumer fireworks laws in this state to provide for sensible and regulated use of all consumer fireworks.

In 2008, fireworks-related injuries reported by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission dropped to 7,000, a reduction of over 28 percent from the year before and a reduction of 44 percent in the last 15 years since 1994.

The year is relevant because that is when the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory began its Quality Improvement Program, which includes the testing of the consumer fireworks products at the factory level in China before the products are permitted to be exported to the U.S. If the products fail the AFSL testing, they cannot be exported to America. Phantom Fireworks is one of the founding members of the AFSL.

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In 1994, 117 million pounds of fireworks were imported into the U.S., and that amount almost doubled to 213.2 million pounds in 2008. When you factor in usage, based on injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks used, the fireworks-related injuries actually dropped from 10.7 injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks in 1994 to 3.3 in 2008, a reduction of over 69 percent. That is seriously impressive.

The norm with consumer products is more use results in more injuries. Consider such products with which risk is associated such as ATVs, Jet Skis, trampolines and the like; and the result is undisputed that increased injuries occur with increased use. Not so with consumer fireworks where use has increased and injuries have decreased.

Indiana legalized the regulated use of all consumer fireworks in 2006, and the result, in addition to more tax revenue and more employment for Indiana citizens, is an amazing reduction in fireworks-related injuries over the three seasons. For 2006, the Indiana Department of Health reported 251 fireworks-related injuries. That reported number dropped to 156 in 2007 and to 141 in 2008. Legalization of the products actually resulted in safer use through education and public service announcements.

William A. Weimer

vice president

Phantom Fireworks

Youngstown, Ohio