Ban on sale and supply of hand-held laser pointers announced [Audio]

21/09/1999 2:00 PM

Fair Trading Minister Doug Shave has announced a ban on the sale and supply of powerful hand-held laser pointers.

The ban follows a recent incident in which a boy in the South-West of the State suffered damage to his sight when a laser pointer was shone into one of his eyes.

“The ban applies to the more powerful class three and four pointers,” Mr Shave said.

“The weaker class one and two pointers can still be sold.”

Mr Shave said Health Minister John Day was also considering introducing restrictions on the use of the more powerful pointers under the Radiation Safety Act.

Laser pointers, designed for use by teachers, lecturers and presenters on screens and boards, are graded from one (weakest) to four (strongest).

Class one and two are considered safe but the beam from class three and four pointers can cause temporary or permanent sight loss if shone into eyes.

"Laser pointers should only be used to do what they are designed for and should never be pointed directly at people,"
Mr Shave said.

“In July last year WA retailers, wholesale traders and importers agreed to voluntary restrictions on the more powerful pointers but this hasn’t been effective enough in keeping them off the market.”

Laser pointers must carry a permanent label with a user warning and their strength rating.

“The community has a right to expect products to be safe,” Mr Shave said.

“This is particularly important when children may have access to products which cause harm if misused.”

The Ministry of Fair Trading will ask education authorities to warn schools and parents of the dangers and undertake an intensive information campaign to advise retailers of the ban and ensure the pointers are withdrawn.

Mr Shave urged people who already owned laser pointers not to let children play with them.

Media contact: John Clune 9213 6500
    Besides banning the sale of the stronger pointers I want to ask anyone who owns one to make sure they keep them safely so that children can’t play with them. (10SECS 204 KB)
      People should understand laser pointers aren’t toys, they should only be used for what they’re designed for and never be pointed at people. (9SECS 191 KB)
        Unfortunately children like to play with the pointers. While weaker pointers are considered safe, stronger ones can cause permanent sight loss if shone into eyes. (10SECS 204KB)