Lasers Safety Advice

The laser pointers are now being purchased and used by the general public, including children, and used in ways not intended by the manufacturers. As a result, serious concerns about the hazards of laser pointers have surfaced.

The majority of the laser pointers used in the U.S. have either Class 2 lasers with a maximum power output of less than 1 mW or Class 3R diode lasers in the 630-680 nm wavelength (red), with a maximum power output of between 1 and 5 mW.The hazards of laser pointers are limited to the eye. Although with most visible lasers, the largest concern is potential damage to the retina, most laser pointers are not likely to cause permanent retinal damage.

Safety Considerations

Laser pointers are effective tools when used properly. The following considerations should be observed when using laser pointers:

Never look directly into the laser beam.
Never point a laser beam at a person.
Do not aim the laser at reflective surfaces.
Never view a laser pointer using an optical instrument, such as binocular or a microscope.
Do not allow children to use laser pointers unless under the supervision of an adult.
Use only laser pointers meeting the following criteria
Labeled with FDA certification stating "DANGER: Laser Radiation" for Class 3R lasers or "CAUTION: Laser Radiation" for Class 2 pointers.
Classified as Class 2 or 3R according to the label. Do not use Class 3b or 4 products.
Operates at a wavelength between 630 nm and 680 nm.
Has a maximum output less than 5 mW, the lower the better.

 

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