WVU Researcher finds firework-related injuries spiked 40% after 2016 fireworks law

After the laws governing firework distribution were eased in 2016, one researcher found firework-related injuries spiked.
Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 5:38 PM EDT
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Fourth of July is just days away and you may have noticed the fireworks stands appearing in parking lots throughout our area. The abundance of fireworks stands can be linked to House Bill 2852.

That bill passed in 2016 easing the restrictions on firework sales, allowing consumers to buy a full range of pyrotechnics.

“One evening in the summer in 20-16. It literally sounded like a war was going on outside my house,” said Dr. Toni Rudisill, an injury epidemiologist and research assistant professor at WVU.

Dr. Rudisill and her colleague, Katarina Preamble, began studying the effects the bill had on public health.

“Myself and my colleague spent very, very many late nights reading medical record after medical record after medical record,” said Dr. Rudisill.

They found fireworks-related injuries skyrocketed by 40% after the bill’s ratification. A majority of those injuries were found to be in men over the age of 25.

West Virginia joined a growing trend of states that have eased restrictions on fireworks sales. Dr. Rudisill hopes her findings will help people stay informed on the risks that fireworks pose.

“One thing to take away from it. As states consider passing these laws and basically liberalizing them, making these products more available. I just think it really helps that they sometimes are cognizant of what that means for the populations that purchase them,” said Dr. Rudisill.

They also found people found to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol tended to sustain more severe injuries.

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