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Monday March 05, 2018

'Explosivity' Should Be CPSC's Fireworks Focus, Asserts NFA

Expect debate on whether CPSC is truly addressing safety improvements at the upcoming public meeting on its fireworks rulemaking. Specifically, National Fireworks Association (NRF) members visited commissioners' offices February 26 and 27 to voice concern about over-focus on metallic powders in burst charges. The question raised was whether other explosive formulations, such as synthetic and hybrid variations, can have just as much explosivity but be missed in the proposed test method involving XRF scans.


Indeed, the group had a visual prop involving mockups of 500g and 200g cake shots. It would be possible for the more powerful to pass the protocol simply for lacking metallic powder while the smaller would fail with metallic. However, the larger clearly has more explosivity. Cake shots are groupings of aerial tubes bundled by manufacturers in ways that appear somewhat like cakes.


NFA has taken a more contrary view of CPSC's proposal than have other industry groups. Indeed, the rule would incorporate elements of standards by the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory and American Pyrotechnics Association (PSL, 1/2/17). Although there is overlap among the groups, NFA tends to represent smaller companies and retailers. There is concern about unbalanced effects on them.


The public meeting is March 7. CPSC launched the rulemaking following a late 2016 staff report (PSL, 1/2/17) that urged changes. CPSC extended the comment period, and after an initial trickle of positive comments (PSL, 4/24/17), it got thousands of remarks, many critical (PSL, 7/24/17). The point of the metallic powder test is to update the subjective "ear test" for audible effects.


It has been around since at least the 1950s, initially an FDA method (PSL, 11/24/14).