Gender reveal parties exist so couples can learn the assumed gender of their forthcoming child in the company of family and friends. But judging by the gender reveals that get news coverage, it seems like the biggest revelation these parties offer is the discovery that unregulated explosives are very, very dangerous. Who knew?!
On Tuesday, a family in Kingston, New Hampshire created such strong blast at a gender reveal party that police received reports that a loud explosion had occurred. The Guardian writes that the explosion, which reportedly sounded and felt like an earthquake, was caused by 80 pounds of Tannerite, an over-the-counter explosive used for firearms practice, that has previously wreaked havoc on gender reveal parties. The family was setting off the explosive in a quarry, thinking it was safe. “We heard this god-awful blast,” a woman told NBC Boston. “It knocked pictures off our walls.”
Tannerite has been previously connected to gender reveal explosions in Iowa and in Arizona, where an explosion sparked the 2017 El Dorado wildfire. The company actually sells a specific gender reveal “boom box” which includes colored powder and a one pound Tannerite target rifle. When you shoot the Tannerite target box filled with colored powder, it then creates a chemical reaction that creates the colorful pink or blue explosion.
Tannerite is legal to buy (except in Maryland, congrats to you Maryland) because it sells its ingredients ammonium nitrate and aluminum powders separately for buyers to mix together, which keeps it from being legally classified as an explosive and also unregulated. A 2015 Today Show segment featured a reporter buying 40 pounds of Tannerite at a store easily, which was reportedly enough to blow up a house. Using that metric as a guide, that means the amount of Tannerite this New Hampshire family had was enough to blow up two houses.
Tannerite target boxes are pricey, running upwards of $69 online, which might explain why people also seem to DIY their own, even more dangerous explosives for gender reveal parties. A Michigan man was killed earlier this year after setting off a novelty cannon that shot out shrapnel, while another man was killed in New York this year after trying to create an explosive device also for a gender reveal party.
I sure hope all these babies enjoy their assigned gender, because these explosions are a lot!