Laser pointers targeted

16:00, Feb 05 2014
laser stand
Laser pointers have been in the news lately for their use against pilots.

New regulations on hand-held high-power laser pointers will come into force on March 1.

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew says the laser pointers can cause eye injuries, even blindness, and skin burns.

"They can also cause temporary flash blindness, which poses a serious risk if the person affected is a pilot or in charge of a vehicle or equipment," Mrs Goodhew says.

The Civil Aviation Authority reports around 100 laser strike incidents on planes each year.

"The new controls, under health and customs legislation, cover the import, supply and acquisition of high-power laser pointers.

"The new controls have been crafted to only target the high risk hand-held laser pointers with a power output of greater than 1 milliwatt.

"Lower power devices, like those used for pointing during presentations, will not be affected. The controls also do not apply to more sophisticated laser devices such as survey instruments or rifle sights.

"The new controls restrict access to high-power laser devices to those who have a legitimate reason to use them such as astronomers."

Go to health.govt.nz and search laser pointers.

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