13 October 2022

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency and eBay Australia have teamed up to remind businesses and consumers about the risks caused by laser pointers.  

Laser pointers with a radiant power above 1 milliwatt (mW) are prohibited weapons because of their ability to damage the eye and are banned from sale in Australia. 

ARPANSA’s Chief Radiation Health Scientist Dr Rick Tinker said a recent UK study illuminated how dangerous lasers were.

‘Scientists found that structural damage to the eye occurs even if a child presents no symptoms after exposure to a laser pointer,’ Dr Tinker said.

‘There’s a risk that children can access laser pointers above the legal limit because we know that the products are sometimes labelled incorrectly.’

A 2013 study by the University of New South Wales found that the vast majority of laser pointers in their sample, 42 out of 44, exceeded the power limit of 1mW. 

In partnership with ARPANSA, eBay has taken additional steps to further enforce its Product Safety policy that prohibits the sale of laser pointers with a power output above 1 milliwatt (mW) on its marketplace.

‘We encourage other online sellers and retailers to follow eBay’s example and be more vigilant about selling these products because we know they can harm children,’ Dr Tinker said. 

eBay’s Director, Legal Counsel of Global Regulatory Delphine Dauba-Patanacce said the company published a safety reminder to remind buyers and sellers about laser pointer hazards and regulations.

‘eBay takes the safety of its customers very seriously. We enforce our Product Safety policy using block filters to prevent sellers from listing unsafe laser pointers with a power output above 1mW. Our close working relationships with partners like ARPANSA are an important part of our global product safety strategy for keeping our platform safe. 

‘Listings offering laser pointers that exceed 1mW will be taken down and enforcement action taken against sellers’ accounts where appropriate,’ Ms Dauba-Patanacce said.

Read eBay’s safety announcement here

ARPANSA has information about ‘laser hazards and safety’ on their website

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