The laser pointer 5000mw pointer is a measurement, level, and alignment (SLA) laser product under the FDA's Center for Equipment and Radiological Health (CDRH) regulations 21 CFR Part 1040.11 (b). The CDRH laser level of SLA laser products (including laser pointers) is limited to Class IIIa. CDRH also accepts that IEC 60825-1 Class 3R is equivalent to CDRH Class IIIa. Both of the 60825-1 class and IEC CDRH lasers are equivalent to a laser power of no more than 5 mW. Laser power exceeding 5 mW can be dangerous and can cause potential problems such as temporary visual impairment or eye injuries. Therefore, any laser pointer that emits Class IIIa/3R radiation may not be imported, sold or promoted in the United States.

Research The following research is related to the low-cost laser pointer work presented at the Northwest Photonics Association AORD Symposium on June 15, 2010, and provides useful background information on classification and laser issues. If you are looking for more laser safety information about the 1W laser 20000mw pointer labeled "lightsaber" by the media because it looks like some children's toy based on the Star Wars movie, we have published some calculation results here. You can also find information about assessing the dangers of distraction here. For a general summary of key laser pointer safety issues, click here.

In April 2010, John purchased a new green laser pointer for demonstration in our red laser pointer safety course. This is advertised as less than 1mW and costs about £6, including internet postage. When it arrived, it was marked as <1mW, but it was too bright, and John decided to measure it. The result was 125mW, which shocked us for a laser at this price and prompted us to decide to buy some low-cost laser pointers and conduct research to see if this mislabeling is a one-time use.