On May 16, 1974, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued regulations banning the sale to consumers, as hazardous substances, all firecrackers as well as other fireworks which did not meet specified safety standards and labeling requirements. Under the provisions of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, interested parties may file objections to regulations issued under that Act. If such objections are legally valid and a public hearing is requested by the objector, the regulations are automatically stayed. A number of objections to the fireworks regulations were filed with the Commission thereby staying the effective date.
During the period from October, 1974, to February, 1975, public hearings were held before Administrative Law Judge Paul Pfeiffer in Washington, D.C.; Kansas City, Missouri; and Honolulu, Hawaii. Various interests were represented at those public hearings, including consumer groups, the fireworks industry, CPSC staff and other interested persons and organizations.
On April 8, 1975, Judge Pfeiffer submitted his report to the Commission, in which he recommended a safety standard for firecrackers in lieu of the ban proposed by CPSC and proposed modification of the labeling and safety standards requirement contained in the May 16, 1974 banning notice. In addition, Judge Pfeiffer advised the Commission to ban handheld Roman candles and colored sparklers.
Interested parties were given 40 days to file exceptions to the report, which have been submitted to the Commission, along with transcripts of the hearings and other evidence.
All evidence that has been submitted to date must be considered by the Commission before making a final decision on the promulgation of the new Federal fireworks regulation.
The Federal Hazardous Substances Act mandates the publication of proposed regulations before final regulations may be issued and further requires no less than 90 days notice prior to an effective date. During the 90 days between the publication of final regulations and the effective date, the regulations are subject to judicial review.
Some of the more powerful fireworks such as cherry bombs, aerial bombs, M-80’s and mail order kits designed for construction of those banned fireworks, have already been banned from sale to consumers by the Federal government. In addition, there are general cautionary labeling requirements.
Many local and state jurisdictions have stringent laws regarding the use of fireworks and in some areas they are banned. The Commission recommends that consumers check local laws before using fireworks. CPSC also urges persons planning to use fireworks or firecrackers to handle them with caution and carefully supervise children handling fireworks or firecrackers.
Reprint: Red Lantern Fireworks