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. 

Current Revision Process

Following a decade long effort, the revised APA Standard 87-1 was finalized and published in the November 25, 2020 Federal Register. The revisions became effective on December 25, 2020

The revisions 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

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

History
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. 

APA Std. 87-1 is the consensus standard by which fireworks classifications are assigned based upon the weight and type of chemical composition contained for each specific type of device, including permissible and restricted chemicals. Originally developed and accepted by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 1987, 87-1 has saved the industry millions of dollars in testing fees by permitting manufacturers to obtain EX Approvals by meeting its standards criteria, by- passing costly third party testing.

Previous revisions to 87-1 were completed in 1998 and 2001 to address new products. However, following the millennium and 9-11, the fireworks industry achieved record-breaking growth and with that growth came the expansion of product lines including the wide variety of new consumer fireworks which had been developed including crackling strings/balls/strips, flashers/strobes, nitrocellulose fountains, and specialty devices such as large firecracker strings, girandolas, and more. Moreover, the previous version of the standard did not account for advances in manufacturing, including a variety of proximate pyrotechnics devices which have been developed during the past decade due to the unprecedented growth in the live entertainment industry. These gaps have created delays and often forced companies to have their product undergo costly testing and classification by a DOT approved explosives testing laboratory, costing $8,600 - $10,000 per device.