Prevent Blindness Educates Public on Dangers of Consumer Fireworks
CHICAGO—With the Fourth of July only days away, Prevent Blindness is once again supporting the development and enforcement of bans on the importation, sale and use of all fireworks and sparklers, except those used in authorized public displays by competent licensed operators. According to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) study, injuries from fireworks sent approximately 8,000 Americans to the emergency room over the Fourth of July holiday. The organization’s latest annual report stated that 42 percent of the estimated emergency department treated, fireworks-related injuries were to individuals younger than 20 years of age. The CPSC also reported 11 non-occupational fireworks-related deaths. “The Fourth of July can still be fun without fireworks,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “By attending only fireworks shows run by licensed professionals, and being vigilant, we can celebrate our nation’s birthday with family and friends, not in the emergency room.” Despite thousands of injuries and consumer firework-related deaths, some state government representatives are moving to lift restrictions on consumer fireworks. In Iowa, a new law enacted in April allows retail sales of consumer fireworks in permanent buildings between June 1 and July 8, and again between Dec. 10 and Jan. 3, Prevent Blindness stated. To combat firework-related injuries, Prevent Blindness is offering alternatives—making pinwheels or wind socks with an Independence Day Theme or purchasing non-toxic glow-sticks, ropes and jewelry that can be lit at night, for example—to celebrate the holiday safely.