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Laser Pens

Volume 301: debated on Tuesday 25 November 1997

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To ask the President of the Board of Trade if she will estimate the number of laser pens with beams greater than one milliwatt currently in circulation in the United Kingdom. [15921]

We cannot estimate the number of laser pens with beaMs greater than one milliwatt in circulation. However, following my announcement on 28 October about dangerous laser pens, Trading Standards Departments have been tracing sources of supply of laser pens and have suspended the sale of considerable quantities of these products which were intended for supply to the general public. These inspections are continuing.

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what research her Department has evaluated into the potential hazards of laser pens with beams of less than one milliwatt. [15919]

My Department has considered the recent report by Heriott-Watt University on the optical safety of laser pointers and has had discussions with the National Radiological Protection Board regarding the safety of these devices in the hands of the general consumer. We are not aware of any evidence that laser pens up to one milliwatt are directly harmful to health.