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2022-08-20 05:11:25 By : Mr. Ice Zhou

Bringing novelty sparklers to Massachusetts would help our state more than hurt it. All of our surrounding neighbors and beyond — which includes 49 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico — allow consumers to purchase and use sparklers for their personal enjoyment.

Because we are surrounded by states that allow them, our Massachusetts residents already are crossing the border to purchase sparklers, which they then bring back home. I see firsthand evidence of this in my legislative district, which is close to the New Hampshire border. Every summer, and particularly around theJuly Fourth, our beaches and yards are filled with sparklers.

If there is already an abundance of sparkler use in the Commonwealth, why not keep the revenue within our own borders instead of losing it to our competitive states? That is one reason I have filed legislation to allow people to purchase and use sparklers in Massachusetts. Another is that lifting the ban also would help our small businesses and overall economy.

And wouldn’t it be logical to have some type of regulations that would ensure sparklers are safe for usage? Those types of rules do not exist now but could be promulgated if we were to legalize these products.

I realize a major concern for the opponents of this proposal is the potential for serious burn issues and injuries to our young children. But as we fine-tune the wording of the proposed legislation, there is a way to address those safety concerns. As an example, including age restrictions for the purchase or use of sparklers would be something we could all agree on. If 49 other states can make this work, surely Massachusetts should be able to do it as well.

I believe that citizens should have the ability to engage in this entertaining, joyful activity without the fear of being fined for using a product every other state allows.

We are at a point in the COVID-19 pandemic where we should be doing whatever we can to help our small businesses survive — and to help our residents find relief from the stress of this difficult year.

This proposal would be one step in attaining those goals.

Medical Director of the Burn Service at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston

At Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston, we care for children with burns ranging from small injuries that can be treated in our outpatient clinic to catastrophic life-threatening wounds that require extensive follow-up care. We have certainly seen our share of fireworks- and sparkler-related injuries. Children who experience these types of burn injuries are often facing multiple surgeries and years of rehabilitative therapy. As part of our mission, we are committed to educating the public on burn safety in all its forms.

Most people do not realize that a simple sparkler will burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to burn some metals. That dangerous temperature can climb even higher: up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit.

The extreme temperature of even this simplest firework can lead to direct deep-boring contact burns when touched or stepped on, which can cause tissue damage in addition to injuring the skin.

Coming into contact with sparklers and other fireworks also can cause extensive burns when clothing or hair ignites, and eye injuries when little hot flecks fly off the tip of the sparkler into the unprotected eye.

Even after a sparkler has been extinguished, it will remain hot long enough to cause a serious burn injury if it is handled improperly.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2018 Fireworks Annual Report, hospital emergency rooms in this country treated an estimated 9,100 people for fireworks-related injuries that year. Children younger than 15 years old accounted for more than one-third — 36 percent — of these injuries. Nine percent of the trips to the ER during a one-month period around July Fourth were caused by sparklers.

Burns caused by sparklers are avoidable injuries.

The temporary enjoyment of a sparkler is simply not worth the risk of exposing a child to a serious burn that could result in years of surgeries, procedures, and therapeutic services – injuries that could cause missed soccer games and dance recitals and time spent with family and friends.

Using sparklers may seem like a harmless way to enjoy a summer evening, but the risk is clear and it is entirely avoidable.

As told to Globe correspondent John Laidler. To suggest a topic, please contact

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