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May 13, 1983

Injuries From Fireworks

Author Affiliations

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Seattle

JAMA. 1983;249(18):2460. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330420022025

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To the Editor.—  Effective in 1982, Washington state changed its law governing the sale of fireworks during the July 4 holiday period. Previously, only nonexplosive ground-display devices known as "Safe and Sane Fireworks" were legally available in the state, elsewhere than on Indian reservations, where aerial devices and exploding firecrackers containing less than 50 mg of gunpowder were legally available. This year, all three types, except skyrockets and missile rockets, were sold throughout the state. To determine if this change in the law affected the number of fireworks-related injuries, we contacted 15 hospitals in nine counties and asked them to report the number of fireworks-related emergency room visits for June 28 to July 6, the period of legal fireworks sale, for 1981 and 1982. The hospitals surveyed are distributed throughout Washington state, and we assume that neither the population served nor the number of emergency room visits for other causes