Letters to the Editor

A hazard to all

Holiday fireworks

In celebration of our nation’s birthday on the Fourth of July each year, we’ve been brainwashed into thinking that it’s patriotic to set off fireworks. We need to rethink this very dangerous practice.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission Chairman Hal Stratton said parents often don’t realize that even sparklers, for instance, burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees — hot enough to melt some metals.

Children most often suffer burns, lacerations and eye injuries. But adults get hurt, too. There were more than 10,000 emergency room-treated injuries associated with fireworks last year.

And it’s not just the avoidable physical injuries and deaths that make the explosion of fireworks so harmful.

Let me give you an example of what happens in my neighborhood. Every Fourth of July, a group of people living on the Hood Canal sets off fireworks from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. These are not simply sparklers or firecrackers but bombs and rockets that often are aimed at and explode over the water. The noise is deafening and the lights blinding. Wildlife and domestic pets are frightened so badly they yelp, scream and try to flee. There is no way that anyone within miles can sleep. But these people don’t care — not even about their neighbors who have to work the next day.

Last year, I was in the Seabeck Post Office a couple of days after this Fourth of July fiasco when I overheard a soldier who had just returned from Iraq commenting that it had felt like he was back in the war zone. Yes, it’s that bad.

The continuing use of these products is detrimental to the health and safety of us all. It is time to see fireworks for what they are — a dangerous health hazard that must be banned.

M. JOHNSON

Seabeck

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