It's time for the annual whine about fireworks. They are dangerous, they are polluting, and we should grow up already.

Fireworks
CC BY 2.0 Christian Lambert

Last year I didn't do my usual complaint about fireworks. Perhaps I was just tired of comments like " I would argue that being a crybaby, fraddy cat pansie panted pxxxx on every possible subject get's old. Not sayin' Lloyd is, just sayin'." But this year, with much of the west in severe drought, almost nobody is banning fireworks like they did two years ago. Now it is political; it's all about the freedom to set your state on fire. In Arizona, where fireworks were actually illegal until 2010, they just passed a law making it illegal for cities like Phoenix or Tucson to ban fireworks locally. It hasn't rained in the state for four months. According to ABC,

Some lawmakers chalk it up to statehouse politics, while others say it's politicians' reluctance to impose more regulations and take away the cherished tradition of setting off fireworks, even in severe droughts.

So since the right to bear fireworks shall not be infringed, here is a reminder of some of the issues.

They are dangerous.

© FiveThirtyEight

FiveThirtyEight tells us that fireworks caused roughly 11,400 injuries and eight deaths in 2013.



  • Half of the 7,400 injuries were sustained by people 19 and younger.
  • 2,300 of those injuries (31 percent) were from sparklers.
  • The body parts most likely to be injured were hands and fingers, at 36 percent, followed by head, face and ears (22 percent).
  • Two percent of injuries were sustained during public fireworks displays.

The Wills Eye Hospital warns that eye injuries are endemic, and that sparklers are particularly dangerous.

Despite the popularity of consumer fireworks, the devices can cause blindness and disfigurement and each year they prompt severe injuries across the nation including corneal burns, ruptured or lacerated eyeballs, and retinal detachments.

They are toxic and polluting

Backcountry Attitude/Screen capture

Where do we start? With the perchlorates in the propellant that are contaminating lakes and can cause hyperthyroidism? How about the particulates that can trigger asthma? How about the strontium, barium, copper, antimony and arsenic?

They are, as noted, serious fire hazards.

The National Fire Protection Association notes:

In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.

So why, again, are more and more states actually rolling back regulations on fireworks?

And in case you missed them:

2006: The Prettiest Pollutants
2007: Fireworks: Fun for the Whole Family or Dangerous Water Contaminants?
2008: Fireworks: The Annual Whine About Their Environmental Impact
2009: Oh No Mommy! Will the Greenies Take Fireworks Away From Us?
2009: Fireworks: Ungreen Or A Necessary Part Of Ringing In The New Year?
2009: Fireworks Fizzle or Fizzle Shizzle? 2010: Turkish Town Bans Fireworks to Save Sea Turtles
2011: The Annual Green Whine: It's Time To Lose The Fireworks
2012: 'In Addition to Their "Regular" Poison, Fireworks are Extra-Dangerous This Year

Tags: Holidays | United States