For the last year, the NFA had this petition up calling upon the Consumer Product Safety Commission to scale back a proposed regulation that would have the negative effect of changing the way our consumer fireworks look while doing nothing to improve safety. We expect the CPSC to act on their proposed rule by the end of October before Acting Chairwoman Anne Marie Buerkle retires from her service.
We’ve also run scientific tests through an independent explosives lab that proved that fireworks manufactured under CPSC’s proposed regulation could actually be more energetic and potentially create a less safe experience for the consumer.
So the NFA has formally proposed a compromise to the CPSC that the fireworks industry and safety advocates already support. Now the industry needs to step up and make this happen.
Instead of focusing on the chemistry that makes up the fireworks – it would be safer and more scientific to focus on the pyrotechnic weight composition of fireworks to determine compliance. If a firework is supposed to have up to 60 grams of powder, which is the widely accepted industry standard, then anything over that weight would be non-compliant. After all, the more powder that exists in the composition of a firework, then the more explosive it will be.
Here is what the NFA has proposed:
Eliminate the metals provision from the proposed rule. Last year, the NFA commissioned a third-party test by a DOT-certified explosives lab that showed a burst charge containing 12.5 percent powdered aluminum metal would generate less energy than a burst charge created with hybrid powders that already exist and would be compliant under the proposed CPSC regulation of zero powdered metal. This test showed focusing on powdered metals is an incorrect way to measure safety. The metals myth has been falsely propagated and should be dealt away with. It has been scientifically disproved by the test the NFA commissioned and has been rendered moot.
Eliminate the ear test. The ear test is subjective and is not a proper way to assess the safety of fireworks. The ear test is done by an individual; at an undisclosed location; and under undisclosed conditions that can affect the outcome of the test. Eliminating this test is something all industry stakeholders have agreed on.
Adopt pyrotechnic composition weight limits. Presently the consumer fireworks industry limits pyrotechnic weight of aerial shells to 60 grams. It is an industry accepted standard and serves to increase safety by preventing overly energetic devices from reaching the hands of general consumers.
This is a common sense proposal that is a win for everyone. The CPSC will maintain continuity of government with all DOT approval options while getting to put more modernized regulations in place that ensure the safety of consumer fireworks. The regulation will be enforceable with a constant (weight) that will withstand fireworks technology/science changes over the course of time. This will be a proactive rather than reactive regulation. Industry will have certainty about the methods used to determine the compliance of our products. Consumers will have safe products to enjoy that will be reliable and predictable for years to come.
So please, join us in saving our fireworks and tell the CPSC to support and vote for the NFA compromise. It is what is right for consumer fireworks. It is a just compromise that serves all parties equally and fairly. That is what the NFA is for and it is what we are fighting for, for all of our members.