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Reaction on Fireworks: It’s Predictable

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A recommendation yesterday by a federal judge in Washington that small firecrackers remain available caused no dancing in the streets by James W. Morrill of the American Lung Association of Hawaii.

"From a Lung Association standpoint, I would say that he’s missed the boat completely, because here in Hawaii our major concern is the pollution problem," Morrill said of Judge Paul N. Pfeiffer’s decision.

"Our whole viewpoint all along has been primarily to protect people already afflicted with lung diseases.

Roy Uejio, president of the Hawaii Oriental Importers Association, was pleased by the judge’s decision.

"The people that like to play with firecrackers in Hawaii will be only too happy," Uejio said.

He said he was surprised the judge recommended a ban on colored sparklers. Some restaurants here put sparklers on birthday cakes, he said.

Judge Pfeiffer also recommended a ban on Roman candles and a reduction of the explosive content of firecrackers.

Gary Houghtby, executive secretary of the Hawaii Thoracic Society, took a dim view of the decision. He said the Thoracic Society is not opposed to the use of firecrackers for religious purposes but strongly objects to firecracker-caused air pollution which he said severely affects lung patients.

Houghtby noted that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission may yet impose new fireworks regulation. Pfeiffer’s decision is not binding on the commission, which has an unlimited amount of time to study the decision, decide whether to hear further arguments and publish new rules.

Houghtby said that if the commission does not limit firecracker use, he would recommend action by the City Council or Legislature.

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Every Sunday, “Back in the Day” looks at an article that ran on this date in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. The items are verbatim, so don’t blame us today for yesteryear’s bad grammar.

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