Myrlte Beach, SC - When you buy fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July, you want to trust what you're bringing home. WMBF News looked into what kinds of checks and balances are in place to ensure your safety.
Those start at our nation's ports.
According to Asst. US Attorney Winston Holliday, USDOT agents make sure that what's inside boxes being brought into the US matches up with certain numbers on the outside of the box.
"When fireworks are manufactured and approved for sale in the United States, they are manufactured according to a certain recipe or composition, and they have to match the numbers on the shipment," said Holliday.
Those numbers confirm that the fireworks coming into our country have been tested and follow federal regulations for safety.
However, earlier this year, a criminal case was brought against a local fireworks supplier, Atlas Importers.
The company was accused of knowingly smuggling in unapproved fireworks from China and pleaded guilty to that violation.
"Just like a drug you buy off the shelf at a drug store, if the drug hasn't been tested, you don't know exactly what you're getting or side effects," Holliday said.
The other part of making sure what you buy is safe depends on the store.
"It's going to ruin your holiday if someone gets hurt," said Ashley Begovich with Phantom Fireworks.
That's why the company, with stores across the country, has their products tested by the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory.
Stickers on each box confirm to staff that those standards have been met, and then they check for any other possible problems.
"A truck comes in, we inspect the boxes and make sure there's no outward damage on the boxes," Begovich said. Then individual pieces are once again looked at for damage and that there's nothing rolling around or rattling inside."
WMBF News did reach out to Atlas Importers several times for comment about their smuggling case but have yet to hear back.