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Don't Let Fireworks Make You a July 4th Statistic

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Fireworks Safety Precautions  

Washington, DC - Fireworks are as American as baseball and apple pie. Unfortunately, unsafe fireworks can cause injuries and even death. "Our nation's citizens need to understand the grave consequences that can result from the illegal and improper use of fireworks," said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Director Brad Buckles.

ATF wants consumers to know the dangers of illegal fireworks. Banned fireworks include cherry bombs, M-80s, M-1000s, silver salutes and larger firecrackers containing more than two grains of powder. Also banned are mail-order kits designed to build these fireworks.

The sale of illegal fireworks to consumers is prohibited under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. Certain kinds of explosives sold as "fireworks" are in fact small bombs. The manufacturing of these illegal fireworks can result in federal felony and misdemeanor charges with time in federal prison.

ATF recommends you first recognize that all fireworks present a risk to people and property, and second, never buy or handle items with names like M-80, M-100, ashcan, quarter-stick and half-stick. These are illegal explosive devices - not fireworks - and may explode without warning causing injury or death.

In 1999, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, who regulates consumer fireworks (Class-C common fireworks), legal in some states, reported that more than 8,500 injuries were attributed to fireworks. For year 2000, the figure is estimated to be even higher. Illegal explosive devices meet neither safety nor quality standards. Heat, shock or pressure can trigger accidental detonation.

ATF Director Brad Buckles stresses that ATF regards "counterfeit fireworks" as totally unpredictable. "They can seem innocent, then go off in your face," he warned.

In the next few days, traffickers nationwide will make sales pitches to anyone who will listen. Too often, these illegal fireworks end up in the hands of children. In the United States about 44 percent of all fireworks-related injuries were attributed to children ages 5 through 9.

Director Buckles says only you can make the difference by helping to expose traffickers of these illegal devices by calling the local ATF office or 1-888-ATF-BOMB. "Be responsible. Don't let the mark of a great day in American history become a sad day in your family's history."

For more information on ATF, visit ATF's Web site at


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