Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Is It Time To Restrict Fireworks To The Professionals Only.
The vast majority of the world’s fireworks come from China. And sometimes they explode early, with deadly consequences. Many times they are mishandled by adults and children without an understanding of what could happen.
[4135.266] Effect of Fireworks Laws on Pediatric Fireworks Related Burn Injuries
John Myers, Charles Woods, Yana Feygin, Carlee Lehna. University of Louisville, Louisville, KY.
BACKGROUND: Changes in US fireworks laws have allowed younger children to purchase fireworks; and allowed individuals to purchase more powerful ones. To date, no study has evaluated the effect these changes have had on medical outcomes. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to examine the epidemiology of pediatric fireworks-related burn injuries among a nationally representative sample of the US for the years 2006-2012.
Session: Poster Session: Emergency Medicine: Epidemiology (7:00 AM - 11:00 AM) Date/Time: Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 7:00 am
Room: Exhibit Hall F - Baltimore Convention Center
Course Code: 4135
"In terms of severity of injuries requiring hospital treatment, we are very concerned about the misuse of fireworks and have seen an increase in injuries among youth..."
From 2009-2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 18,500 fires caused by fireworks. These fires included 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and 16,900 outside and other fires. An estimated two people were killed in these fires.
In 2014, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 10,500 people for fireworks related injuries; 51% of those injuries were to the extremities and 38% were to the head. These injury estimates were obtained or derived from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2014 Fireworks Annual Report by Yongling Tu and Demar Granados.
More than one-quarter (28%) of fires started by fireworks in 2009-2013 were reported on July 4th. Almost half (47%) of the reported fires on the Fourth of July were started by fireworks.
*To minimize risk of injury, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends never allowing young children to play with or ignite fireworks and to always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.
In addition to the debris that is often left behind following displays, studies have linked fireworks to water contamination, particularly by perchlorate, a chemical used in fireworks to create bright flashes of light. Perchlorate exposure can cause thyroid problems, and is considered a “likely human carcinogen” by the US Environmental Protection Agency. It can also harm wildlife.
Levels of tiny pollutants are 42% higher on the holiday than on a typical day, one study says:
Fireworks on the Fourth of July dramatically increase air pollution, boosting exposure to potentially dangerous pollutants for millions of onlookers, according to a recent study in the journal Atmospheric Environment.
“Particles tend to stay suspended in the air for days,” says Schwartz. “They’re going to drift whichever way the winds goes, so it’s not just going to be the people sitting in the park watching the fireworks.”
“These results will help improve air quality predictions, which currently don’t account for fireworks as a source of air pollution,” says Dian Seidel, author of the study and a scientist at the NOAA.
Short and long-term exposure to air pollutants from fireworks can lead to numerous health issues including:
Shortness of breath
“We chose the holiday, not to put a damper on celebrations of America’s independence, but because it is the best way to do a nationwide study of the effects of fireworks on air quality,” Seidel says.