3 Good Reasons to Ban Fireworks in the U.S.

Updated on July 8, 2019
Madeleine Clays profile image

Madeleine Clays is a teacher and writer. She enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, cycling, and gardening.

3 Reasons Fireworks Should Be Banned

  1. They Cause Death and Injuries
  2. They Frighten Pets
  3. They Are Bad for the Environment

A National Holiday

July 4 is Independence Day in the United States. It’s the day Americans celebrate the freedom they obtained from the British monarchy on the same day in 1776, and their declaration as thirteen united and independent states.

Various social activities, such as picnics and parades, take place on this holiday. However, fireworks are the hallmark of Independence Day. Americans gather after dark at parks or other public locations to watch these marvelous displays of lights in the sky.

Many people are unaware of the harmful effects of firecrackers. Indeed, more damage is done on July 4 in America than on most other days of the year.

Fireworks are harmful to people, animals, and the environment.
Fireworks are harmful to people, animals, and the environment. | Source

1. Fireworks Cause Death and Injuries

Do you know that firecrackers can burn at temperatures as high as 2,000° F?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that every July 4, thousands of people, mostly children and teens, are hurt while using fireworks. These injuries sometimes result in death.

Fireworks also cause a ton of collateral damage on property.

Facts About Firecrackers

  • There are approximately 14,000 fireworks shows in the United States on July 4 every year.
  • Fireworks cause an estimated 18,500 fires per year, costing an annual average of $43 million in property damage.
  • In 2017 alone, hospital emergency rooms in the United States treated an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks-related injuries.
  • Children younger than age 15 accounted for more than 36% of those hurt by firecrackers in both 2017 and 2018.

Did You Know?

Americans spend about $662 million on fireworks every year. The July 4 Boston firework display is one of the most expensive shows, costing a whopping $2.5 million.

Yearly Fireworks-Related Estimated Injuries in the U.S.

Year
Estimated Injuries
2018
9,100
2017
12.900
2016
11,100
2015
11,900
2014
10,500
2013
11,400
Apparently playing with fire comes at a high price.
Sparklers alone account for more than 25% of fireworks-related emergency room visits.
Sparklers alone account for more than 25% of fireworks-related emergency room visits. | Source

Percentage of Fireworks-Related Injuries By Age Group in 2018

Age 0-4
Age 5-9
Age 10-14
Age 15-19
Age 20 +
7%
10%
19%
12%
52%
In 2018 alone, 36% of fireworks-related injuries occured to children below the age of 15.

On the 4th of July, Americans light about 175 million pounds of fireworks, which is equivalent to about 100,000 lightening bolts.

Every year around July 4 all across America, animal rescue shelters are filled with runaway pets that panic and escape their owners because of the loud sound of fireworks. Others are never found.
Every year around July 4 all across America, animal rescue shelters are filled with runaway pets that panic and escape their owners because of the loud sound of fireworks. Others are never found. | Source

2. They Frighten Pets

Every year on and around July 4, animal shelters across America receive an increase in calls concerning pets who have ingested fireworks. It's usually dogs who will eat them out of mere curiosity. Unlike cats, some canines will consume just about anything!

Around Independence Day, animal shelters also receive a hike in the number of animals that arrive at their facilities. This is because our furry friends are frightened by the loud sounds the fireworks make. They panic and escape from their owners.

Unfortunately, many of these terrified pets never make it to a shelter and are never found.

Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe During July 4

  • Keep your pet indoors during July 4 celebrations, including firework displays.
  • Play soothing music or turn on a sound machine.
  • Keep your pet in a room without windows.
  • Provide your pet with a cozy place to hide so that he feels safe.
  • Try an anxiety vest or a snug fitting t-shirt.
  • Make sure your pet always wears an ID tag with your updated contact information, and/or has a microchip.

It's always best to keep your pets safe at home during all July 4 activities! The loud sounds are difficult enough for them to have to deal with. Remaining in their familiar environment will give them some sense of safety and reassurance.

Did You Know?

As of July 2019, Massachusetts and Delaware are the only U.S. states that ban all consumer fireworks.

Making and using fireworks destroys our environment.
Making and using fireworks destroys our environment. | Source

3. They Harm the Environment

Do you know that many of the raw materials used to make fireworks are mined from mountains, which results in the destruction of forests and wildlife habitats?

The little particles that fall to the ground during fireworks displays contain toxic chemicals, many of which don't fully decompose. This means that they linger in our environment–our soil and water systems–which is harmful to humans and animals they come in contact with.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has linked exposure to toxic chemicals to many health problems.

Health Conditions Related to Inhaling Toxins in Our Environment

  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • throat, nose and eye related problems
  • asthma attacks
  • shortness of breath
  • headaches

People particularly susceptible to these adverse affects are those with heart and respiratory conditions and nervous system disorders.

Banning fireworks doesn't mean we can't celebrate and have fun on July 4!
Banning fireworks doesn't mean we can't celebrate and have fun on July 4! | Source

Conclusion

Banning fireworks doesn't mean Americans can't celebrate their Independence Day on July 4 every year. Sure we can. We can continue the picnics, barbecues and fun. Just leave out the firecrackers. The negative impact they cause is greater than the temporary enjoyment they offer.

Fireworks are a waste of consumer money. They are harmful to people, pets and our environment.

Happy Fourth of July!

Do you think fireworks should be banned in the U.S.?

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Fireworks Injuries

© 2019 Madeleine Clays

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    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      2 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Madeliene....I wasn't going to go into detail but...my former brother-in-law, who of all things, was a police officer, lost an eye while playing with fireworks. I'd say that's pretty damned serious! Yes, I've often thought, how sad and unnecessary!

    • Madeleine Clays profile imageAUTHOR

      Madeleine Clays 

      2 months ago

      Thanks for your comment, Paula. It's sad that people you know were injured by something so preventable. I hope consumer fireworks will become illegal in more states in our country. The number of injuries they cause speaks for itself.

    • Madeleine Clays profile imageAUTHOR

      Madeleine Clays 

      2 months ago

      Thanks for stopping by, John. It's interesting to learn a little about some of the celebrations with fireworks in Australia. The scene you described in Darwin sounds like a headache. I'm sure there are similar scenes all across the U.S. on July 4. I have never cared for the loud noise fireworks make. Your dog was smart to hide under the bed, although I feel sorry he and so many other pets even have to do that.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      2 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I'm afraid I would never argue with your valid points. I personally know 3 individuals who were injured quite badly due to the mishandling a of fireworks.

      Important article! Peace, Paula ~ Have a SAFE 4th!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Madeline, you make some very good points. Here in Australia we used to celebrate Guy Faulks Day/night by letting off fireworks, and I loved the thrill and spectacle as a child, however personal use of fireworks were banned (due to injuries and deaths) over 50 years ago in every state except The Northern Territory. Coincidentally, I am currently visiting my son in Darwin, the NT capital where fireworks are still allowed on one day of the year July 1st Territory Day. Because of the party atmosphere of the day alcohol is often also involved. We were surrounded by exploding fireworks as all neighbours and surrounding streets let off fireworks for hours. We could hear siren after siren as the Fire Brigade went from accidental one fire to another. Fortunately I have heard no reports of injuries. Our dog refused to go outside and hid under the bed, however many run away and go missing.

    • Madeleine Clays profile imageAUTHOR

      Madeleine Clays 

      2 months ago

      You make a very good point, RTalloni. I suppose it's similar to drinking and driving. People can't act responsibly when they're under the influence of alcohol. As you said, children end up getting hurt for others' careless actions. Thanks for commenting.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      2 months ago from the short journey

      Some good points made here. The biggest danger of fireworks is that people consume alcohol and try to manage them. Every year it is sad to hear of children and adults harmed or killed by the negligence. If they are sold it should at least be against the law to use them while drinking any amount of alcohol.

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