July 4th Fireworks Are Made by ... China?
China still produces nearly all of US consumer fireworks
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2014 4:40 PM CDT
People watch a fireworks display to commemorate the Independence Day holiday, Thursday night, July 3, 2014, in Owensboro, Ky.   (AP Photo/The Messenger-Inquirer, John Dunham)

(Newser) – Ah, Independence Day fireworks: What could be more ... Chinese? Yep, despite strong "Buy American" sentiments in other fields (the US military must fly made-in-America flags, for example), China still manufactures at least 98% of consumer fireworks and 75% of "display" fireworks (for big shows) sold in America, Politico reports. The US needs them because fireworks production is "very, very labor-intensive," says a pyrotechnics expert. "Basically everything is still made by hand." What's more, she says, US safety and environmental regulations would make home-made fireworks about 10 times costlier for consumers.

China began grabbing the US fireworks market after Washington reestablished trade ties in 1979; by last year, the US was importing $213 million in fireworks, nearly all from China. Federal authorities grew alarmed in the 1980s and early 1990s over the lack of safety standards in Chinese fireworks, but now the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory has imposed stricter rules and says it inspects fireworks shipments before they leave China. Despite all this Chinese know-how, the US Army is making "greener" pyrotechnics that produce less hazardous smoke and leave behind fewer possibly toxic residues, NBC News reports. "Our goal is to spin this off to commercial applications," says an Army pyrotechnics chief. (Read about the connection between fireworks and war.)

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Showing 3 of 39 comments
dennis
Jul 10, 2014 2:27 PM CDT
Is most stuff made over seas? Or outside the country?
WillRogers
Jul 5, 2014 12:14 PM CDT
As a child back in the Thirties never saw fireworks that weren't Chinese, so its not a new thing.
kawahchan
Jul 5, 2014 11:03 AM CDT
(R) 2016 Gov. RICK PERRY Report: If you know the history about fireworks and rockets, 5,000 years ago, Chinese (a Prime Minister Shu during the Epoch of the Three Kingdoms) were the Inventor.