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Keep teens away from fireworks, experts warn

Published: 31 Dec 2012 14:40 GMT+01:00

A fire in a school in Gröndal, Stockholm on Sunday night could have been started by New Year rockets.

The alarm came in around 2.30am, Mats Körner of the Greater Stockholm Fire Brigade (Storstockholms brandförsvar) told Sveriges Radio (SR).

"Night-watchmen discovered the fire in the school entrance. It spread inside the building and to the attic," said Körner.

Police are investigating claims that New Year rockets had been set off inside the school at the time of the fire.

There were several other incidents involving fireworks around Greater Stockholm ahead of New Year's Eve.

In Sigtuna a group of young people fired rockets at people who were out shopping and in Södertälje youths fired rockets at each other and at passing buses.

A group of young people fired rockets at each other near a preschool in Märsta and guards were called to the Norsborg metro station after reports of fireworks going off there.

In Sweden, the age limit for buying and handling fireworks is 18. But according to news agency TT, nine out of 10 patients taken to emergency wards with injuries from fireworks are under 18.

It is also illegal to let under-18s light fireworks, but the risk of prosecution is basically non-existent, according to TT.

Åke Persson, a fireworks expert at the Swedish Fire Protection Association (Brandskyddsföreningen), said the police should be more vigilant.

"It would be good if we had some criminal cases so that we can develop judicial practice around the issue," said Persson.

Several authorities also warned of health risks associated with fireworks.

Writing in medical journal Läkartidningen, several doctors called for a ban on the most powerful fireworks, saying they can cause more serious injuries than previously thought.

"How many body parts have to be sacrificed?" the doctors asked.

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) claimed fireworks are a health and environment hazard.

The Agency said 300 tonnes of tiny particles were released from New Year's fireworks in 2011.

Although that represents just 1 percent of the total 29,000 tonnes of particle emissions in 2011, experts at the agency urged the public to be cautious over New Year's.

"When you breathe in, the particles could enter your lungs and cause health problems," Maria Lidén, the agency's coordinator of international reporting on air- and climate issues, told technology magazine Ny Teknik.

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Your comments about this article

15:27 December 31, 2012 by gumbojinx
all the kids where i live in eskilstuna seem to have them and they are way younger than 18. most of them seem to be about 12 but kids as young as 7 or 8 are hanging around with them. some times it sounds like a war zone around here. fortunately for me my dog isn't bothered by the sound, but i feel sorry for anyone who has a dog that is, walk time must be a nightmare.

i just find it so hard to understand how kids so young are getting hold of fireworks in such large quantity.

it will all end in tears (as we say in the uk).
19:57 December 31, 2012 by johan rebel
"Several authorities also warned of health risks associated with fireworks"

Wow! Swedish taxpayers must take great pride in paying the salaries of the astute experts who have taken it upon themselves to educate the public about these risks. It would never have occurred to any ordinary citizen that fireworks could be dangerous in any way.
21:12 December 31, 2012 by runninblues
I argree w/gumbojinx. My first year here I couldn't believe what I saw. Errant rockets exploading over houses, etc. SHockingly adults here are just as idiotic when it comes to fireworks as the kids. I will never understand it. This exploading of fireworks goes on for days leading up to New Years and the whole day. Shoot them off at midnight and be done with it. It doesn't make sense to make them legal to anyone on the biggest drinking day of the year. They never seem to clean up after themselves either - the next day the grounds are littled with empty boxes, etc. I do have a Golden Retriever, almost 3 years and she is laying under my daughters bed, shaking and panting as I write this, while bombs explode everywhere outside.
22:47 December 31, 2012 by Dr. Dillner
Keeping teens from these is like trying to keep a teen boy from masturbating.
09:35 January 1, 2013 by smilingjack
in australia fireworks are banned as is just about everything else. The fun police took over australia a long time ago. I dont think your even allowed to play ball games on a beach anymore. I was amazed by the fireworks last night. amazing. fantastic. to all the dog owners out there - no one gives a hoot about your precious little puppy wuppy. that would be the same dog you take to the same park that then poos and wees over everything in the park and barks ALL year long. hey but that OK.

the fireworks were AWESOME. good one stockholm!
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