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Monday September 02, 2019

Fireworks Group Gives CPSC Three Proposals on Rulemaking

The National Fireworks Association (NFA) August 23 promoted three ideas it presented to CPSC members the week before. They regard the 2016 rulemaking proposal that aimed to address issues like burst charges, chemical compositions, pyrotechnic weights, device bases, and others. Many were uncontroversial, but provisions targeting fine mesh metals in burst charges garnered the most opposition from some stakeholders like NFA.


That group's three ideas – which it called "common sense compromise we can all support" – involved:

  • Eliminating the metals provision. It pointed to test data it had submitted last year and which it said showed powders that would be compliant with CPSC's proposal had more burst energy than those that would be banned.

  • Getting rid of the "ear test" – the method of listening for a "poof" versus a "bang" for deciding if a device is meant to produce audible effects.

  • Adopting pyrotechnic composition weight limits for consumer aerial shells to 60 grams. NFA said this is "an industry accepted standard" meant to limit explosive energy.

Last year, NFA submitted its test data just before a commission decision (PSL, 10/8/18), causing postponement to allow time for CPSC assessment (PSL, 8/22/18). Once that occurred, staffers raised concerns related to scope, whistle composition, aluminum in powder, and issues they deemed hard to control for, like packing variance (PSL, 11/19/18).


Last spring (PSL, 4/1/19), industry groups on both sides of the issue prodded CPSC to decide. This included concern about rises in injuries attributed to metal in powder by the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) and American Fireworks Standards Laboratory (AFSL). NFA sent a letter near that time reiterating its positions.


Meanwhile, earlier this summer (PSL, 6/17/19), Jake's Fireworks sued against the ear test, calling it arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and unlawful.


However, CPSC has moved the rulemaking to its "long-term action" category (PSL, 6/3/19), which is for projects with no next milestone expected in the foreseeable future.


At the PSL deadline, CPSC's public calendar showed that APA and AFSL were planning to visit the agency in early September to discuss the NFA proposal.