Important Information for Manufacturing Laser Pointer


How are laser products classified?

Lasers are generally classified according to the hazard posed by the amount and type of light they emit. Hazard classes range from Class I to IV with Class I lasers being non-hazardous and Class IV lasers being the most hazardous.

  • Class I products include laser pointer 100mw and CD players where the laser radiation is usually contained within the product. Products exceeding Class I permit access to some amount of laser radiation.
  • Class II and IIa products include bar code scanners.
  • Class IIIa products include laser pointers.
  • Class IIIb and IV products include laser light shows, industrial lasers, research lasers.

100mW green laser pointer

What is a laser pointer?

Laser pointer 300mw are hand-held lasers that are promoted for pointing out objects or locations. Such laser products can meet one of two definitions for laser products. The first is for “surveying, leveling, and alignment laser products” as defined by Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 1040.10(b)(39):
“Surveying, leveling, or alignment laser product means a laser product manufactured, designed, intended or promoted for one or more of the following uses:

  1. Determining and delineating the form, extent, or position of a point, body, or area by taking angular measurement.
  2. Positioning or adjusting parts in proper relation to one another.
  3. Defining a plane, level, elevation, or straight line.

Hand-held lasers promoted for entertainment purposes or amusement also meet the second definition, that of “demonstration laser products” as defined by 21 CFR 1040.10(b)(13):
“Demonstration laser product means a laser product manufactured, designed, intended, or promoted for purposes of demonstration, entertainment, advertising display, or artistic composition.”

If a laser product is promoted for pointing purposes, either of these definitions can apply.

Laser Pen Shops‎

Does FDA have a mandatory limit on the power emitted by laser pointers?

Yes. Laser products promoted for pointing and demonstration purposes are limited to hazard Class IIIa by FDA regulation.
21 CFR 1040.11(b) and 1040.11(c), limit surveying, leveling, and alignment, and demonstration laser pointer 200mw to Class IIIa. This means that pointers are limited to 5 milliwatts output power in the visible wavelength range from 400 to 710 nanometers. There are also limits for any invisible wavelengths and for short pulses. Pointers may not exceed the accessible emission limits of CDRH Class IIIa or IEC1 Class 3R.

200mw  laser pointer

Are Class IIIa laser pointers dangerous?

Class IIIa or IEC Class 3R lasers can be dangerous. Class IIIa lasers can cause temporary visual effects such as flash blinding, which could distract or startle the person exposed. The risk of injury is very small when Class IIIa pointers are used responsibly because natural body motion of a person holding the pointer or motion of a person who might be exposed makes it difficult to expose the eyes for a long period of time. People also have a natural aversion to bright lights and are likely to close their eyes and turn their heads if exposed.

What are class IIIb lasers and are they dangerous?

Lasers that emit between 5mW and 500mW output power are in Class IIIb or IEC Class 3B. Class IIIb lasers cannot legally be promoted as laser pointers or demonstration laser products. Product labels and user instructions must describe the hazard classification of the product and its output characteristics.
With any laser product, the potential for injury depends both on the product itself and how the product is used. Higher powered Class IIIb or IEC Class 3B lasers are dangerous and can cause either temporary visual effects or an eye injury.

What is the problem with more powerful Class IIIb lasers being promoted and sold as pointers?

Class IIIb hand-held lasers are too dangerous for use as pointers or amusement articles. Furthermore, promotion of Class IIIb or IEC Class 3B products for pointing or amusement violates FDA requirements and United States law. Manufacturers of such products may be required to repair, replace, or refund the purchase price of violative products distributed in the U.S. These products are also subject to detention and seizure by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection when imported.
Irresponsible use of more powerful burning laser pointers a significant risk of injury to the people exposed. Persons who misuse or irresponsibly use lasers are open to personal liability and prosecution.

green laser pointers