Health Commissioner Warns New Yorkers of Fireworks Risk
From 1994 to 1996, 533 New Yorkers were Hospitalized with Fireworks-Related Injuries
Albany, July 2, 1999 – State Health Commissioner, Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., today warned that all New Yorkers should leave fireworks in the hands of professionals this Fourth of July weekend to avoid a risk of serious injury.
"Young people most often are hurt by illegal fireworks–related injuries, sometimes suffering irreversible eye or ear damage. Losing your sight or hearing, or becoming permanently scarred is a tragic price to pay for a few minutes of fun with fireworks," Dr. Novello said.
Health officials said that even seemingly harmless sparklers, which, along with other consumer fireworks, are illegal in New York State, cause many injuries. Among children under five, sparklers account for three–quarters of all fireworks–related injuries. Sparklers, when lit, can reach dangerously hot temperature levels–1,800 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
Even though fewer fireworks–related injuries have occurred in recent years, Health Department statistics show that hundreds of people continue to get hurt. From 1994 to 1996, the most recent period for which data are available, 533 individuals were hospitalized for treatment of fireworks–related injuries in New York State, and two people died.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, children under 15 years of age, especially boys, are at the highest risk. Fireworks–related injuries commonly happen at home.
"Firework injuries are no accident. Except in rare cases, they are predictable and preventable. This Fourth of July, protect yourself and your family. Obey the law and leave fireworks strictly in the hands of professionals," Dr. Novello said.