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

I am a teacher, writer, animal lover and outdoor enthusiast.

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

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

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.

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 2019 alone, hospital emergency rooms in the United States treated an estimated 10,000 people for fireworks-related injuries.
  • Children younger than age 15 accounted for at least 36% of those hurt by firecrackers in both 2018 and 2019.

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

Year Estimated Injuries

2019

10,000

2018

9.100

2017

12,900

2016

11,100

2015

11,900

2014

10,500

2013

11,400

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.

Percentage of Fireworks-Related Injuries By Age Group in 2019

In 2019 alone, 37% of fireworks-related injuries occured to children below the age of 15.

Age 0-4Age 5-9Age 10-14Age 15-19Age 20 +

15%

11%

11%

13%

50%

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 sounds 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 sounds of fireworks. Others are never found.

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.

Making and using fireworks destroys our environment.

Making and using fireworks destroys our environment.

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!

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 profound and long-lasting negative impact they cause is far 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!

Fireworks Injuries

References

ASPCA

Fact Retriever: Interesting Facts for the Curious Mind

NFPA (National Fire Protection Association)

terrapass

United States Consumer Product Safety Commission

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2019 Madeleine Clays

Comments

Suzie from Carson City on July 03, 2019:

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 (author) on July 03, 2019:

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 (author) on July 03, 2019:

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.

Suzie from Carson City on July 02, 2019:

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!

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on July 02, 2019:

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 (author) on July 02, 2019:

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 on July 01, 2019:

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.