July Fourth Fireworks

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Leave the fireworks to the professionals.

That's the message from a coalition of health and safety organizations pressing for a ban on consumer fireworks. Instead, the group, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Burn Association, urges adults and children to attend public fireworks displays.

The coalition says there are a number of problems with consumer use of fireworks. In 1999, the latest year for which there are statistics, fireworks started an estimated 24,200 fires.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that 8800 people were hurt by fireworks and treated in hospital emergency departments in 2002. Nearly two-thirds of those injuries were burns.

Only seven states, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island, currently ban all consumer fireworks.