The Washington Post

Government warns of dangers of illegal fireworks

”Rein”

Americans celebrating Independence Day suffered 6,300 injuries involving fireworks last year, federal officials reported Thursday as they launched a campaign to warn the public about potential safety problems with illegally imported explosives. Nearly 40 percent of the injuries were from unsafe firecrackers, bottle rockets and sparklers.

Officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency said they are working closely with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to identify potentially unsafe shipments of fireworks at ports of entry.

Last year, selected shipments of imported fireworks were sampled and tested at U.S. ports to determine whether they complied with a federal law that regulates hazardous substances. Of the targeted shipments, more than 43 percent contained non-compliant fireworks, officials said.

“We’re very happy that we stopped these goods,” Dan Baldwin, executive director of the customs agency’s cargo and conveyance security office, said in a statement. “But much of that effort requires the due diligence of the American consumer --to make sure that they clearly understand what they’re buying and that the products are safe.”

A video the agency produced on how to identify dangerous fireworks is worth a look.

Lisa Rein covers the federal workforce and issues that concern the management of government.

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