PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Doctors are worried they’re going to see more firework injuries because of a new law.
Last October, Pennsylvania passed a new law allowing residents over 18 to buy mortars, bottle rockets and fireworks that go into the air and explode.
An additional 12 percent tax on these fireworks is used for emergency responders.
Doctors say even fireworks as simple as sparklers can be as hot as 2,000 degrees, so you can imagine the destructive power behind the even bigger devices.
They can cause blindness, disfigurement and other severe injuries.
Just ask one Eagles fan, 25-year-old Rasaan Urquhart, who lost sight in his left eye while celebrating the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory in February.
“Everybody was cheering; we stopped in a parking lot,” Urquhart recalled.
That’s when Rasaan tried to help someone who was setting off fireworks.
He says he bent down to see why the firework hadn’t exploded, when suddenly, it did.
“I heard the noise,” Urquhart recalled. “It was boom. It went straight into my left face to the point where it felt like my face just came off.”
Dr. Philip Storey, a retina surgeon at Wills Eye Institute, says fireworks should be left to the professionals.
“What we typically worry the most about are explosions right in the face that we see,” Dr. Storey said. “And particularly with the new more powerful fireworks on the market that we’re seeing now. We’re concerned.”
The biggest risk are fireworks that have not exploded and people have explosions happen right in the face that can cause blindness and permanent disability or disfigurement. And that’s exactly what happened to Urquhart.
“I couldn’t feel anything but for some reason I knew I was blind,” he said. “I was very upset that I knew I was blind, due to me having two kids.”
Urquhart says he will still enjoy fireworks but from a distance.
Dr. Storey says if you are setting off your own fireworks or even use sparklers, it’s important to wear eye protection and have a bucket of water handy in case there’s a fire.