South Tyneside Council's Trading Standards Team is reminding people of national safety concerns around buying and using laser pens both home and abroad.
The misuse of laser pens (sometimes referred to as laser pointers) as reported in the press has generated considerable public and Ministerial concern over the safety of these devices. The original purpose of laser pens was for use in presentations or for pointing out objects. However there have been media reports of people misusing laser pens and shining them at aircraft and other modes of transport to dazzle or distract the driver.
There has been a rise in the supply of "decorative effect" lasers that pose risks of damage to eyesight, especially to young children. Recently, the low costs of such lasers have made them popular as toys which have led to the lasers being used in ways that are not appropriate.
Many are actively marketed as child appealing, and some show pictures of children in bed looking at the units shining star patterns on their bedroom walls. Yet, in some cases none of the product information identifies the light strength or potential safety risks for the user or anyone who may be targeted by the laser beam.
If a laser product is marketed as a toy, it should comply with BS EN 62115, which requires toys containing lasers to be Class 1 under all conditions, including when broken.
Laser pen safety tips
- Only buy a laser pen if you have a legitimate use for it
- Don't use laser pens without labels
- Don't point laser pens into people's faces or eyes
- Don't point laser beams at aircraft
- Don't point laser beams at vehicles
- Don't point lasers at animals for any reason
- Don't give laser pens to children