APA Standard 87-1

APA Standard 87-1 is a voluntary standard in which fireworks classifications are assigned based upon the weight and type of chemical composition contained for each specific type of device, including specific permissible and restricted chemicals. Click here to view a copy of APA Standard 87-1, Standard for Construction and Approval for Transportation of Fireworks, Novelties, and Theatrical Pyrotechnics.

Prior to 1987, fireworks were assigned their classification by the Bureau of Explosives, a division of the American Association of Railroads. Because all explosives must be in compliance with the DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), this meant that fireworks had to be submitted to a DOT approved laboratory for examination and classification, or that the Associate Administrator had to approve a new explosive on the basis of an approval issued on that device by the competent authority of a foreign government. 

Recognizing that this expensive and convoluted process was not appropriate for fireworks, DOT encouraged the APA in the mid-80s to develop an alternative means of classifying fireworks. Accordingly, the association developed APA Standard 87-1 which was incorporated by reference into the HMR under 49 CFR § 173.56 as a procedure for obtaining fireworks classifications and approval. Since then, Division 1.3 and 1.4 fireworks have been allowed to be classed and approved by the Associate Administrator without prior examination, and offered for transportation if they are manufactured in accordance with the applicable requirements in APA Standard 87-1.

During the past 30 years, tens of thousands of Explosives Approvals have been issued by DOT under APA 87-1 and the vast majority of consumer fireworks Approvals are issued under this Standard.

Current Revision Process

View a presentation on the proposed revisions to APA Standard 87-1 - Changes You Need to Know

The revisions would create 3 separate standards: 

APA 87-1A Standard for the Construction, Classification, Approval & Transportation of Consumer Fireworks
APA 87-1B Standard for the Construction, Classification, Approval & Transportation of Display Fireworks
APA 87-1C Standard for the Construction, Classification, Approval & Transportation of Entertainment & Technical Pyrotechnics

DOT accepted APA's petition for rulemaking to incorporate by reference the new standards. The revisions were part of a formal rulemaking announced on August 14, 2019 and are under final consideration by DOT.