Photo: Illegal Fireworks
As Independence Day approaches, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reminds the public to be safe when celebrating with fireworks. Nearly $100 million dollars worth of legitimate fireworks comes into the U.S. annually.
Imported fireworks are subject to various federal regulations for everything from customs duties and consumer product safety standards to hazardous material transport regulations. At the Import Safety Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center (CTAC) in Washington, DC, members from several key agencies in the Department of Transportation (DOT), Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have collaborated to ensure fireworks are safe for the public to enjoy.
This year CBP has seized dozens of illegal fireworks shipments on behalf of these partner agencies. The largest individual commercial seizure this year contained nearly 18 tons of fireworks. That is enough for about half of the fireworks displayed during the Independence Day celebration at the National Mall.
CPSC reports that in 2011 an estimated 9,600 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for fireworks related injuries. Nearly half of the emergency room visits were for victims below the age of 20.
“Working together for a unified government response to unsafe products is what CTAC is all about,” said CBP Assistant Commissioner for International Trade Allen Gina. “The successes of CTAC go beyond stopping illegal importations; their actions are preventing injuries and saving lives.”
The CTAC combines the resources and manpower from various government agencies to protect the American public from harm caused by unsafe, imported products by improving communications and information sharing and reducing redundant inspection activities.