New CPSC Data Shows 60% of All Fireworks Injuries Occur Around July 4th;
Firecrackers, Aerials, Homemade Explosives Cause Most Deaths, Injuries
WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today on the grounds of the National Mall, the U.S.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued its annual report of deaths
and injuries involving legal and illegal fireworks for calendar year 2012.
Fireworks can have a life-altering impact on consumers, including severe eye
injuries, loss of limbs, and even death. CPSC works closely with U.S.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Fireworks, and Explosives; the Department of Transportation; and the
Department of Justice to enforce federal safety standards and raise
awareness about the dangers of fireworks.
Last year, CPSC received reports of six men who were killed by
professional-grade, homemade or banned firework devices.
In addition, an
estimated 8,700 consumers were treated in U.S. hospital emergency
departments for fireworks-related injuries.
Between June 22, 2012 and July 22, 2012, more than 5,000 consumers were
treated in hospital emergency rooms due to fireworks-related injuries. Sixty
percent of all fireworks injuries occur during the 30 days surrounding the
July 4 holiday. More than half of these reported injuries involved burns to
the hands, head and face. About 1,000 reported injuries involved sparklers
and bottle rockets, fireworks that are frequently and incorrectly considered
safe for young children.
Follow-up investigations of incidents showed that most injuries were
associated with malfunctioning fireworks or improper use. Malfunctioning
fireworks often resulted in unexpected flight paths and dangerous debris.
Improper use included igniting fireworks too close to someone, lighting
fireworks in one's hand and playing with lit or used fireworks. Most victims
recovered from their injuries or were expected to recover completely;
however, several victims reported that their injuries might be long term.
"These figures represent more than numbers; they represent the lives of
real people who have been affected well beyond the Fourth of July," said
CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "The federal government is working hard to
keep the public safe by monitoring the ports, the marketplace, and the
transportation of fireworks.
Now, we need consumers to do their part and
Working with CBP, CPSC conducts surveillance on imported fireworks. During
2012, the agencies collected and tested shipments of imported fireworks for
compliance with the Federal Hazardous Substance Act (FHSA). About 30 percent
of the tested products were found to be in violation of the law and were
immediately stopped at the U.S. port. This import surveillance program
strives to keep violative and dangerous fireworks off of U.S. store shelves
and roadside stands.
"The solid partnership between CBP, CPSC and other agencies at the Import
Safety Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC) enables greater
sharing of information and targeting to ensure the safety of imported
fireworks," said CBP Assistant Commissioner Allen Gina.
collaboration at the CTAC results in the identification and interdiction of
potentially unsafe imported merchandise, including non-compliant fireworks,
and truly exemplifies working together as one U.S. Government at the Border
to protect American consumers."
At the national level, CBP, CPSC and the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety
Administration (PHMSA) work side-by-side at the CTAC in Washington, DC to
effectively combat the importation of illegal fireworks.
The CTAC provides
a platform for the agencies to share data, analyze import trends and conduct
joint risk-based targeting to identify fireworks shipments that pose a
"Fireworks are explosives. Protecting the public means making sure that our
safety regulations work when these explosives are being transported," said
PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman.
"As the federal law enforcement agency charged with enforcing federal
explosives laws, ATF actively works with other federal agencies, such as
CPSC, through its fireworks enforcement program to protect the public from
the dangers of illegal explosives devices," said ATF Acting Director B. Todd
Consumers who decide to purchase legal fireworks are urged to take these
-Make sure the fireworks you want to buy are legal in your area before
buying or using them.
-Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including
sparklers. Parents may not realize that young children suffer injuries from
sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot
enough to melt some metals.
-Always have an adult closely supervise fireworks activities if older
children are allowed to handle devices.
-Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is
often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and
could pose a danger to consumers.
-Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when
lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting
-Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other
-Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with
water and throw them away.
-Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
-Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
-Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass
-After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty
of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a
-ATF encourages the public to report the manufacture or sale of illegal
fireworks to your local law enforcement agencies or to the ATF hotline at
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is still interested in
receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to a
product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please
tell us about your experience with the product on SaferProducts.gov
Please use the phone numbers below for all media requests.
Phone: (301) 504-7908
Spanish: (301) 504-7800
CPSC Consumer Information Hotline
Contact us at this toll-free number if you have questions about a recall:
800-638-2772 (TTY 301-595-7054)
Times: 8 a.m. =96 5:30 p.m. ET; Messages can be left anytime Call to get
product safety and other agency information and to report unsafe products.
This message is from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
), an independent federal regulatory agency, located at 4330
East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814
Toll-free hotline: (800) 638-2772.