Over the past few years, consumers have become more aware of potential hazards to young children, especially with toys. The CPSC often discovers that popular children’s products can be dangerous if handled improperly. For instance, if a product is found to contain dangerous amounts of lead, such as when Leisure Ways brand children’s furniture was found to contain lead in its paint last week, it could be harmful if parts of the product are ingested by children. This week, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration is warning consumers about the dangers of toys and products that produce laser beams that are harmful to eyes.
According to the FDA Consumer Update, laser beams can cause serious eye injuries, or even blindness, if they are operated in an incorrect manner. Lasers can be dangerous to anyone in the vicinity of a beam. Officials with the FDA say, “eye injuries caused by laser light may go unnoticed, for days and even weeks, and could be permanent.” Injuries from laser beams usually aren’t painful, and can harm vision slowly over time. They can even be harmful after one use, according to the Huffington Post.
Many products, from printers and surgical tools to toys, contain “a powerful targeted beam of electromagnetic radiation” known as a laser. Radiation-emitting products, like lasers, are regulated by the FDA for safety. The FDA recommends manufacturers create toys with a minimal amount of radiation and light. However, lasers are now cheaper and more powerful, and many consumers are unaware of the risks of lasers.
Toy lasers can be found in toy guns, spinning tops that light up, “lightsabers” and optical lasers used for entertainment purposes. The FDA recommends that consumers not point lasers directly at anyone, including animals and drivers, or point them at reflective surfaces. Additionally, consumers should look for a label declaring that a product complies with 21 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Subchapter J.