Explosive Products and Devices

Explosives play a vital role in maintaining and improving our quality of life within the United States. The explosives industry comprises various sectors, each of which has a unique role in our society. These industries, through their specialized products, have a tremendous impact on many of our daily activities. Most of the materials used to build cell phones, computers, vehicles, and machinery to make roads, cut wood, and operate factories are produced in mining and quarrying operations using explosives. Airbag inflators, seatbelt pretensioners, micro gas generators, and other specialized safety devices keep us safe while driving our vehicles, working in our offices, and flying in aircraft. Explosives are used to help people with certain heart conditions and are also used in avalanche control operations to help ensure the safety of people traveling and skiing in the mountains. While many of the explosive products are designed and used as tools or safety devices, there are other explosive products designed to entertain us. Every 4th of July, the skies around the United States are filled with fireworks. Pyrotechnics are used to entertain us in movies and television shows, and at concerts and sporting events throughout the country.

ATF works closely with these various explosives industry sectors to understand their products and processes and ensure that our regulatory efforts efficiently and effectively address safety and security issues to protect the public.

Display fireworks in the manufacturing process. Fireworks being launched during a fireworks display show.

Skiing terrain that is protected by the use of explosives in avalanche control operations. Jet perforating guns used to pierce oil and gas wells in preparation for production operations.

A mine that uses explosive materials to extract desired materials such as metals and coal. A mine site actively preparing to conduct blasting operations.

Last Reviewed July 31, 2023