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12:13 PM Sat, Nov. 17th

Fireworks manufacturers urge safety today

(PRNewswire via AP) – Fireworks are among the most widely anticipated traditions of celebrating our nation's independence. With the Fourth of July upon us, Americans in certain municipalities and states will have a greater variety of backyard fireworks, as well as more places to purchase them, due to a continuing national trend in relaxing the consumer fireworks laws.

The popularity of consumer fireworks continues to grow each year.

According to the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA), "consumer fireworks retailers are reporting brisk fireworks sales numbers as the busy selling season officially gets off to a start, and we predict revenues could exceed $900 million for the 2018 fireworks season," said Julie L. Heckman, Executive Director of the APA. In 2017, American consumers spent approximately $885 million on fireworks for the Fourth of July, a $60 million increase over fireworks sales in 2016.

Economic benefits from fireworks sales

States experience great economic benefits from the sale of fireworks. In fact, only one state, Massachusetts, continues to buck the trend with its long-standing prohibition against consumer fireworks. Since 2011, 11 states – Kentucky, Utah, New Hampshire, Michigan, New York, Georgia, West Virginia, Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware – have lifted restrictions on the sale of most types of consumer fireworks in order to reap the significant tax revenues.  The tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue for states with fireworks bans has led many, including New York, West Virginia, Iowa and Pennsylvania to change their stance.

Pennsylvania's move to expand consumer fireworks laws sets a new tax of 12 percent, in addition to the sales and use tax already imposed.

The state projects additional revenues in 2017-18 from the expanded sales to total $2.6 million, and to grow to $9.3 million in 2018-19, according to the fiscal analysis of the measure.

Experts Urge Safety

"Fireworks use is expected to hit an all-time high this year, especially with the relaxed fireworks restrictions in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware," said Heckman. The fireworks industry has made great progress in improving fireworks quality and reducing injuries; however, there is still work to be done as the vast majority of fireworks-related injuries in the U.S. each year result from the misuse of fireworks.

The APA through its Safety and Education Foundation is committed to educating the public on the proper use of fireworks and urges consumers to become familiar with key fireworks safety tips before engaging in backyard fireworks celebrations this Fourth of July.