8 weird, cool, and downright dangerous facts about fireworks for your Fourth of July.

This article originally appeared on 07.03.18


In the eyes of many Americans, the Fourth of July is a day for parades, barbecue and, of course, fireworks.

But why is it that we celebrate Independence Day with explosives?

The tradition got its start at the beginning of our nation's history after the Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia to write and sign the Declaration of Independence.


A day after the Second Continental Congress approved the declaration on July 4, 1776, John Adams — soon to be the second U.S. president — penned a letter to his wife Abigail, declaring that Independence Day "ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more."

Image by Stephanie McCabe/Unsplash.

One year later, in 1777, Philadelphia celebrated the anniversary with fireworks (which Adams dubbed "illuminations") plus a parade.

But while their American origin story is interesting, that's not all when it comes to forgotten or overlooked facts about fireworks. Before you head to the backyard barbecue to set off a few with the fam, brush up on your fireworks facts to impress your friends.

1. Currently, Americans are shooting off almost one pound of fireworks each year for every person.

This figure has grown rapidly from half a pound in 2000. In 1976, the United States' bicentennial, the figure was just one-tenth of a pound annually.

Image by The Conversation. Source: American Pyrotechnics Association.

One reason for the big increase is a steady reduction in state prohibitions against individuals using fireworks.

2. Fireworks are allowed in Iowa — but they can only be exploded on the few days around the Fourth of July, Christmas, and New Year's Eve.

It's one of the more recent states to allow fireworks, but you'd better read the fine print before setting off a display in the off-season!

3. By 2016, professional displays comprised less than 10% of total fireworks usage.

Because states are now permitting individuals to purchase and possess fireworks, there has been a large shift from professional to amateur use. Back in 2000, roughly one-third of all fireworks hurled into the sky were done for professional displays, the kind that light the skies of cities around the world on holidays like New Year's Eve and national celebrations.

Photo by Ryan Wong/Unsplash.

4. In 1996 it cost about $1.34 (in today's dollars) to import one pound of fireworks. By 2016 the price had fallen to just $1.17 a pound.

That also means, pound for pound, fireworks are about half the price of the frankfurters many people are grilling this Fourth.

Image by The Conversation. Source: American Pyrotechnics Association.

5. Back in 1986, fireworks injured about 6.6 out of every 100,000 people. In 2008, the rate was down to 2.3 people.

Since 1986, injuries have steadily fallen as government regulations made them safer.

6. But as states have relaxed restrictions, the injuries have started increasing again. The latest figures for 2016 show a rate of 3.4 people per 100,000.

Beyond such statistics, however low, every year there are horrible stories of both children and adults being injured and killed. So it's always important to exercise caution when lighting what amounts to a low-yield missile.

Image by The Conversation. Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission.

7. Now, fireworks are required to meet higher safety standards.

One reason that injury rates have fallen in the first place is because of the federal government's Consumer Product Safety Commission. It banned the sale of the most dangerous fireworks, like M-80s and cherry bombs, in the 1960s.

Today, it is working to lower injury rates again by requiring manufacturers to adhere to higher standards. For example, faulty fuses have caused many injuries by burning either too quickly or too slowly.

Which is why ...

8. All fireworks fuses are now required to ignite three to nine seconds after being lit.

The commission also now requires fireworks to have bases that are wider and support more weight so they do not tip over and fire horizontally.

It also now bans hazardous materials like lead from the powder inside fireworks so that people downwind from the explosions don't get poisoned by breathing the smoke.

Image by The Conversation. Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission.

As more states allow fireworks this Fourth of July, millions more people celebrate by shooting off "illuminations."

But if you do plan to light a few rockets or more advanced fireworks, use some common sense, especially if children are around.

Whether you are lighting fireworks, watching them explode above you, or just hiding from the noise, try to have a fun and safe Independence Day!

Jay L. Zagorsky is an economist and research scientist at Ohio State University. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Update 7/5/2018: The previous version of this story was altered as to fireworks laws that had changed since it's first original publication.

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Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 12.02.19


Just imagine being an 11-year-old boy who's been shuffled through the foster care system. No forever home. No forever family. No idea where you'll be living or who will take care of you in the near future.

Then, a loving couple takes you under their care and chooses to love you forever.

What could one be more thankful for?

That's why when a fifth grader at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah was asked by his substitute teacher what he's thankful for this Thanksgiving, he said finally being adopted by his two dads.

via OD Action / Twitter

To the child's shock, the teacher replied, "that's nothing to be thankful for," and then went on a rant in front of 30 students saying that "two men living together is a sin" and "homosexuality is wrong."

While the boy sat there embarrassed, three girls in the class stood up for him by walking out of the room to tell the principal. Shortly after, the substitute was then escorted out of the building.

While on her way out she scolded the boy, saying it was his fault she was removed.

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One of the boy's parents-to-be is Louis van Amstel, is a former dancer on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." "It's absolutely ridiculous and horrible what she did," he told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We were livid. It's 2019 and this is a public school."

The boy told his parents-to-be he didn't speak up in the classroom because their final adoption hearing is December 19 and he didn't want to do anything that would interfere.

He had already been through two failed adoptions and didn't want it to happen again.

via Loren Javier / Flickr

A spokesperson for the Alpine School District didn't go into detail about the situation but praised the students who spoke out.

"Fellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support," David Stephenson said. "It's awesome what happened as far as those girls coming forward."

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He also said that "appropriate action has been taken" with the substitute teacher.

"We are concerned about any reports of inappropriate behavior and take these matters very seriously," Kelly Services, the school the contracts out substitute teachers for the district, said in a statement. "We conduct business based on the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professional excellence. We're looking into this situation."

After the incident made the news, the soon-to-be adoptive parents' home was covered in paper hearts that said, "We love you" and "We support you."

Religion is supposed to make us better people.

But what have here is clearly a situation where a woman's judgement about what is good and right was clouded by bigoted dogma. She was more bothered by the idea of two men loving each other than the act of pure love they committed when choosing to adopt a child.