Canadian officials warn of lasers

June 25, 2012 at 7:31 PM
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OTTAWA, June 25 (UPI) -- Battery-operated, hand-held lasers or laser pointers designed for lecture halls have the potential to cause serious harm, health officials in Canada warn.

Officials at Health Canada said hand-held lasers, which may resemble pens or flashlights, are most commonly used to point at objects in lectures or presentations, though they may also be advertised for other uses.

They have the potential to cause harm or be a fire hazard due to the intensity of the radiation they emit, officials said.

"In particular, lasers that emit Class 3B/IIIb or 4/IV accessible radiation have the potential to cause serious harm. Exposure to a direct or reflected beam -- even for a fraction of a second -- may cause permanent eye damage and burns," Health Canada said in a statement. "A controlled laser safety environment and professional laser safety training are necessary for the safe operation of Class 3B/IIIb and 4/IV lasers."

Health Canada reminded companies and individuals that, under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, it is prohibited to manufacture, import, advertise or sell any consumer product that poses an unreasonable hazard as a result of its normal or foreseeable use.

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