A fireworks stand in California
A fireworks stand in California - 
Listen To The Story


Scott Jagow: About 95 percent of the fireworks that'll light up the sky today were made in China. Given all the bad news we've been hearing about Chinese products lately, we had to ask, how safe are the fireworks? Here's John Dimsdale:

John Dimsdale: Sales of backyard fireworks have more than doubled since 2000 and injuries, as a percentage of sales, are way down.

What a change from the early '90s, when government inspectors found three-fourths of all imported fireworks didn't meet federal standards.

Under pressure from the government, importers created the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory. John Rogers is the executive director.

John Rogers: And what the industry did was organized AFSL as a way of getting to China and then testing the product to make sure that they met those standards.

Rogers says putting inspectors on the factory floor helps catch unsafe fireworks before they can be shipped.

Scott Wolfson at the government's Consumer Product Safety Commission says the strategy seems to be working.

Scott Wolfson: This is one of the key product areas that we're trying to encourage as a model for other consumer products that we oversee.

The CPSC says lab-certified fireworks usually pass government spot-check inspections, but around 20 percent of the fireworks in the U.S. bypass the lab and aren't inspected.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

As a nonprofit news organization, Marketplace is on a mission that drives what we do every day: to increase economic intelligence across the country. But we can’t do it alone. Become a Marketplace Investor today, in whatever amount you choose, and your donation will go twice as far, thanks to a dollar-for-dollar match from The Kendeda Fund.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.