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CPSC Issues Fireworks Warning

Release Date: June 20, 1989

The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission today warned consumers that an estimated 10,000 persons, many of them children, may be injured this year in incidents associated with fireworks. Most of these injuries will occur during the Fourth of July holiday.

While the most disabling injuries occur with illegal firecracker salutes such as M-80's, the vast majority of all injuries, including loss of sight, lacerations, and severe burns, have historically been caused by backyard Class C fireworks such as bottle rockets, Roman Candles, and small aerial displays, according to CPSC Acting Chairman, Anne Graham.

In a joint program with the U.S. Customs Service, CPSC has cracked down on the importation of fireworks which do not meet the agency's safety standards. So far this year, CPSC has examined more than 800 shipments of fireworks, and nearly 65 percent have failed to meet CPSC safety standards. Close to 400 shipments involving in excess of 75 million individual fireworks units, have been seized at ports of entry.

"Fireworks from the Far East have been a problem since U.S. safety standards went into effect 13 years ago. Manufacturers and importers are starting to learn that shipping unsafe fireworks to the United States will no longer be tolerated," said Graham.

American companies are moving to improve the quality of fireworks imported in the United States, and have organized a voluntary standards and testing group. "We are fully supportive of the industry's efforts", said Graham.

CPSC also announced that it has stepped up ef forts to halt the sale of illegal firecracker salutes. M-801s, Silver Salutes, "Quarter Sticks", and other large salutes continue to cause crippling injuries each year.

CPSC is conducting nationwide undercover surveillance activities the country in an effort to find out who's sellinq the illegal salutes. In a coordinated effort between CPSC, BATF and local law enforcement officials, more than 13,000 M-80's and the components to manufacture additional M-80's were seized in one action recently.

While CPSC efforts are expected to improve the safety of legal backyard fireworks, consumers still must take common sense precautions when using fireworks. "No amount of federal regulation can relieve consumers of the responsibility to use caution and good judgment when buying and using fireworks at homelm, said Graham. "Fireworks are not toys. They contain bhexicals which burn at high temperatures and generate a lot of pressuxe. As with any other dangerous product, they should only be used responsibly".

CPSC offers the following safety tips to help reduce the risk of injury associated with fireworks:

Always Read and Follow Label Directions. 

Always Have An Adult Supervising.

Always Have Water Handy.

Always Ignite Fireworks Outdoors Only.

Always Light Only one at a Time.

Always Buy From Reliable Fireworks Sellets.

Always Check and Adhere to Local Laws on the Sale and Use of Fireworks.

Never Give Fireworks To Small Children.

Never Re-light Malfunctioning Fireworks.

Never Carry Fireworks in Your Pocket.

Never Shoot Them in a Metal or Glass Container.

Never Attempt to Make Firecrackers Salutes at Home.

Release Number
89-058

About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

Federal law prohibits any person from selling products subject to a Commission ordered recall or a voluntary recall undertaken in consultation with the CPSC.

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