|Office of Information and Public Affairs||Washington, DC 20207|
|CPSC Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contacts: Nychelle Fleming or Kim Dulic, (301) 504-7800
WASHINGTON, D.C. - For most Americans, the Fourth of July celebration is a time for food, fun and fireworks, but in 2007 nearly 10,000 Americans were treated in emergency rooms for firework-related injuries. Today on the National Mall, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that 64 percent of these injuries occurred during the one month period surrounding the July 4th holiday.
A review of these injuries shows that burns were the most common, accounting for more than half of the incidents. The parts of the body most often injured were hands (estimated 2,000 injuries), eyes (1,400 injuries) and legs (1,200 injuries). Over the last 10 years, there has been an upward trend in injuries. Eleven deaths were reported in 2007, the same number as the previous year.
"No one should go from a backyard celebration to the emergency room with firework related injuries," said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord, "Using only legal fireworks and using them correctly is an important step towards celebrating safely."
CPSC is working to keep American families safe by educating the public about the risk of injury associated with fireworks, enforcing fireworks regulations and by prosecuting dealers and distributors who manufacture and sell illegal explosives. As a part of its fireworks enforcement program, CPSC actively works with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to investigate roadside stands, warehouses and retail stores that sell professional grade explosives to consumers, and homes that serve as havens for the manufacture of dangerous fireworks devices. These investigations have resulted in dozens of successful prosecutions by the Justice Department's Office of Consumer Litigation and U.S. Attorney offices across the country.
At the ports, CPSC is working alongside Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to ensure shipments are in compliance with the federal regulations. With CBP assistance, CPSC staff selectively sampled and tested over 400 shipments of fireworks last year. Of these 46 percent were found to contain illegal fireworks.
While the federal government remains committed to stopping the manufacture and sale of illegal fireworks, CPSC encourages consumers who use fireworks to safely use legal consumer fireworks.
To reduce injuries, CPSC recommends following these fireworks safety tips: