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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's new Chairman, Inez Tenenbaum, urged families today to put safety first during the Fourth of July holiday and celebrate with caution when it comes to fireworks. The latest report (PDF) from CPSC indicates that there were reports of seven fireworks-related deaths and an estimated 7,000 hospital emergency room treated injuries in 2008. In 2007, CPSC had reports of eleven deaths and an estimated 9,800 injuries.
Chairman Tenenbaum, in a press event and fireworks demonstration on the National Mall, reminded consumers that even with fewer reported deaths and injuries in 2008, the one-month period surrounding the Fourth of July is still the most dangerous time. In fact, 70 percent of all fireworks-related injuries occurred between June 20 and July 20.
"CPSC wants to keep reducing fireworks-related deaths and injuries in 2009," said Chairman Tenenbaum. "Children should never play with or light fireworks, and adults should watch our demonstrations to see how powerful and dangerous illegal fireworks can be."
Chairman Tenenbaum was joined on the National Mall by Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice; Dan Baldwin, Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Trade within Customs and Border Protection (CBP); and Joseph Riehl, Acting Assistant Director of the Office of Enforcement Programs and Services for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
CPSC continues to work to keep American families safe by educating the public about the risk of injury associated with fireworks, enforcing fireworks regulations, and prosecuting dealers and distributors who manufacture and sell illegal explosives.
As a part of its fireworks enforcement program, CPSC actively works with 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.
On June 19, 2009, a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York sentenced Jon Cea and Vincent Cea to 24 months and 36 months in federal prison, respectively, after they pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing in explosive materials, involving the illegal sale of more than 1,000 pounds of explosives. The defendants and their customers were not licensed, yet they purchased and sold professional display fireworks. CPSC and the Justice Department worked in partnership on this case.
At the ports, CPSC is working alongside CBP to ensure shipments are in compliance with the federal regulations. With CBP assistance, last year CPSC staff found through sampling and testing of fireworks shipments that forty-nine percent of these shipments contained illegal fireworks.
While the federal government remains committed to stopping the manufacture and sale of illegal fireworks, CPSC encourages consumers who decide to purchase legal fireworks to:
Date: Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Time: 10:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. EDT
Coordinates: AMC 3C, Transponder 22
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