NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 3, 2008

Americans will celebrate this Fourth of July with food, pageantry and fireworks, says Dr. Emil William Chynn, a LASIK surgeon and advisor to the American Council on Science and Health. 

Although fireworks are a big part of this holiday, there are some concerning facts about their dangers that all Americans should be aware of, says Dr. Chynn.  For example:

  • Fireworks-related injuries cost Americans $100 million each year.
  • Each year, over 10,000 Americans seek treatment in emergency rooms and almost a dozen people die from fireworks-related injuries.
  • Nearly half of these injuries occur during the July 4th holiday weekend.
  • Nearly a third of these ER visits are for serious eye injuries, and some 33 percent of ocular fireworks injuries result in a permanently blind eye.
  • With nearly 50 percent of the victims being children, about seventy-five children lose an eye each July 4th weekend due to fireworks.

Bottle rockets are especially dangerous, says Dr. Chynn:

  • Although they account for only a fraction of all fireworks, bottle rockets caused 70 percent of all ocular fireworks injuries in 2000 -- half resulting in blindness.
  • In a seven-year analysis by the Eye Injury Registry of Alabama, bottle rockets accounted for 100 percent of fireworks injuries requiring surgical removal of an eye.

Source:  Emil William Chynn, "Protect Your Eyes on July Fourth," American Council on Science and Health, June 30, 2008.

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