CBP Joins CPSC in Promoting Fireworks Safety
As Americans prepare for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection joined forces with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to promote fireworks safety on the National Mall today in Washington. The event, held annually, is designed to educate the public about the dangers associated with fireworks, especially illegal explosives.
Dan Baldwin, CBP's executive director of cargo and conveyance security, was one of the officials who spoke at the event. Import safety is a priority trade issue for CBP. The agency works with the CPSC as well as nearly 50 other government agencies to enforce their import regulations and to stop unsafe and illicit goods such as illegal fireworks from entering the country.
The event began with remarks from CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum, who welcomed those attending and announced that last year there were approximately 6,300 reported injuries involving fireworks during the 30 days surrounding the Independence Day holiday, which translates to approximately 200 injuries a day. About 40 percent of the injuries were related to firecrackers, bottle rockets, and sparklers.
"Consumers should never assume that a fireworks device is safe based on its size. By knowing the dangers of all types of fireworks, consumers can prevent tragedies," said Tenenbaum. "I want the public to know that the federal government, your federal government, is working together to keep illegal fireworks out of the country, to catch those who bring them in, and to make sure consumer fireworks meet U.S. product safety rules."
Baldwin expanded upon this message.
"The partnership that we've been able to build with the Consumer Product Safety Commission is pivotal in our fight against threats as they come across our border," he said. "Last year over $200 million worth of fireworks were imported into this country. Keeping tabs on how safe these products are is absolutely critical."
During the last few years, said Baldwin, the two agencies have worked together even more closely.
"We have taken an unprecedented extra step to incorporate CPSC expertise directly to identify potentially unsafe shipments for CBP to check at our ports," he said. "By collocating CPSC personnel in our Import Safety Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center here in Washington and at various ports throughout the country, we are using all available information to help stop unsafe imports before they enter the commerce of the United States."
In 2010, with assistance from CBP, the CPSC staff sampled and tested shipments of imported fireworks at U.S. ports of entry to see if they were in compliance with the Federal Hazardous Substance Act. Of the shipments that were targeted, nearly 43 percent contained noncompliant fireworks.
"We're very happy that we stopped those goods from entering the commerce, but much of that effort requires the due diligence of the American consumer - to make sure that they are clearly understanding what they're buying and that the products are safe," said Baldwin.
Following the remarks, CPSC conducted a demonstration using sparklers, illegal fireworks, gel fuels, and a "quick match" fuse to show the dangers of professional explosive devices.
- Marcy Mason, Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.