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David Mittleman
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Michiganders Can Buy Dangerous Fireworks in State This Year

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You won't have to drive to Ohio this year to get the bigger, brighter and more dangerous fireworks for the Fourth of July celebration. Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill into Michigan law earlier this year that made it legal for people ages 18 and older to buy and use bottle rockets, Roman candles, firecrackers, and helicopters. Governor Snyder signed the bill in an attempt to recapture tax money that would typically go to Ohio and Indiana when Michiganders travel to purchase fireworks. However, physicians and public safety officials are concerned about an increase in injuries, fires and emergency room visits.

The fireworks business is lucrative for states–sellers that offer the more dangerous types pay states a $1,000 fee annually to be certified in addition to a "fireworks safety fee". States obviously also collect money through taxes. But even low impact fireworks like sparklers are not without their dangers. In fact, Dr. Timothy Hodge, executive director at Sparrow Hospital says that patients commonly show up to the emergency room with severe third degree burns to their hands, arms or eyes from fireworks as seemingly harmless as sparklers. Adding the more dangerous fireworks to the mix can spell even bigger trouble.

According to a study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 12,000 Americans each year are treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries, with most injuries suffered by children under age 14. You don't even need to be the one lighting the firework–nearly half of all blindness caused by fireworks happens to bystanders. Public safety officials urge Michiganders to use caution and follow the directions on fireworks. Make sure to stand back when lighting a firework, but remember that when you light a firework into the air you can't be sure where it will come down.