WASHINGTON, D.C.—As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is warning the public about the dangers associated with illegally imported fireworks.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were approximately 6,300 reported injuries last year involving fireworks during the 30 days surrounding the Independence Day holiday, which translates to about 200 injuries a day. Nearly 40 percent of these injuries were related to firecrackers, bottle rockets, and sparklers.
To ensure the safety of imported fireworks, CPSC is working closely with CBP to identify potentially unsafe shipments for CBP to check at ports of entry. CPSC has established permanent staffing at the Import Safety Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center in Washington, and is working with CBP at select ports to stop unsafe imports from entering the commerce of the U.S.
The Import Safety CTAC combines resources and personnel from various government agencies to protect the American public from harm caused by unsafe imported products. The center accomplishes this through better communication, information-sharing, and by reducing redundant inspection activities.
In 2010, selected shipments of imported fireworks were sampled and tested at U.S. ports of entry to determine whether they were in compliance with the Federal Hazardous Substance Act. Of the shipments targeted, more than 43 percent contained noncompliant fireworks. In most of these cases, noncompliant fireworks were destroyed voluntarily by the importer.
"We're very happy that we stopped those goods from entering the commerce," said Dan Baldwin, executive director of CBP's cargo and conveyance security office. "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."
Video is available of remarks from Baldwin and a demonstration of dangerous fireworks. A feature story including additional remarks from Baldwin is also available. For additional information on the CTAC and import safety, please go to CBP's Trade site.