Restrictions to be imposed on laser pointers

People who want to import, sell or even acquire high-powered laser pointers will have to apply to the Ministry of Health under new Government regulations announced today.

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew said the new controls, which come into force in March, would restrict access to high-powered laser devices to those who have a legitimate reason to use them, such as astronomers.

"High-power laser pointers can cause eye injuries, even blindness, and skin burns. ACC accepts around 10 claims a year for these injuries," Mrs Goodhew said.

"They can also cause temporary flash blindness, which poses a serious risk if the person affected is a pilot or in charge of a vehicle or equipment. The Civil Aviation Authority reports around 100 laser strike incidents on planes each year."

Lower power devices, like those used for pointing during presentations, would not be affected.

The controls did not apply to more sophisticated laser devices such as survey instruments or rifle sights.


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