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FDA wants to restrict green & blue laser pointers as "defective"

pmurph5

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants to declare green and blue laser pointers as “defective.” This move would make sales of such pointers essentially illegal in the U.S. It would also make it easier for FDA to control and seize imports of such lasers.

The agency has two main goals:

1) “Turn back the clock” to the 1990s and early 2000s when almost all laser pointers were red. According to the agency, red light has the least interference with pilot vision, compared to equivalent-power green beams which can appear up to 28 times brighter. During this period there were “only” dozens or low hundreds of reported laser/aviation incidents per year, compared with 7,700 incidents in 2015.

2) Make it much easier for customs and law enforcement to identify illegal laser pointers simply by their color. Red and orange-red laser pointers would be permitted; all others would be illegal for general sales.

FDA’s restriction would only affect manufacture and sales of laser pointer products. If states and localities wanted to also restrict individual use and/or possession, they would have to enact new laws in most cases. (A few states and localities currently have restrictions on use and/or possession.) A benefit of FDA’s proposal is that law enforcement could easily identify whether a person possessed a legal or illegal laser, based on its color.

FDA’s proposal and rationale was stated in draft amendments presented to an FDA advisory panel on October 25 2016.

The agency wants to amend the federal laser performance standard to limit laser pointers to the visible range from 610 nanometers (orange-red) to 700 nm (deep red). All other colors including violet, blue, cyan, green, yellow and orange — any wavelength from 400 nm (deep violet) to 609 nm — would not be permitted.

The maximum power level for laser pointers would remain at 4.99 milliwatts.

====================

Here is a link to the full story. At the end of the story is a link to the FDA's document with their actual proposal.

I should remind everyone that FDA probably does not monitor or read this forum. You can discuss all you want here but your comments/input/suggestions etc. will not get to FDA.

If you want to contact FDA, try their consumer information contact webpage. The DICE people either can take your comment directly or can tell you who to contact further.

-- Patrick Murphy, LaserPointerSafety.com
 



Hap

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Doesn't the government have better things to do then to try and ban some laser pointers due to their color? Man this is getting ridiculous!

-Alex
 

pmurph5

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FDA is trying to reduce the number and intensity of laser visual interference with pilots.

Because green lasers are brighter than other lasers with equivalent power, and because over 90% of incidents involve lasers, they feel that stopping sales of green laser pointers will help reduce the number and intensity of incidents, over time.

They do understand that a reduction will not happen overnight or even within a year or two. But at least it will help slow the flow of green lasers to the general public.

FDA has similar reasons for restricting the colors other than red. They do appear brighter to a dark-adapted eye than red.

More importantly, if only red laser pointers can be sold to the general public, then it is easy to identify and remove from commerce all other pointers not allowed based simply on their color -- no power meters needed.

As the article states, one goal is to "turn back the clock" to when we only had red laser pointers. They did not have as much of a visual impact on pilots.

Again, FDA does NOT believe this is the magic solution. They understand incidents will continue for a long time. But to FDA, this will help start a longer term downward trend.

Their action also may signal to the general public that "hey, these incidents are taken seriously". Just like in the 1980s when people started taking car keys away from drunk drivers.

And finally, there may also be a "this is why we can't have nice things" effect. If the laser pointer manufacturers and laser users could not reduce the incidents -- they rose dramatically last year -- then more drastic steps have to be proposed.

My interpretation/guess as to their rationale.
 

Razako

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Doesn't the government have better things to do then to try and ban some laser pointers due to their color? Man this is getting ridiculous!

-Alex
Talk about an abuse of governmental power. They're just gonna call blue and green 'defective' so they can ban those colors? Makes literally no sense at all with regard to how that's supposed to be legit lawmaking. Would they really try to even ban <5mw blue/green lasers just by the color? Lots of people like low power greens as teaching aids, gun lasers, and star pointers. Meanwhile, we'd still be able to go buy a 1W red 638nm... Great lawmaking FDA. Another federal agency in dire need of some budget cuts.
 
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pmurph5

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I believe FDA is aware they're taking a sideways approach to regulating lasers.

They have to come at it sideways because FDA does not have direct authority over laser pointers and colors. However, they DO have significant authority over defective products.

So to gain this authority, FDA is now asserting that the importance of not flashblinding pilots takes precedence over the importance of a brighter PowerPoint dot.

This may not make sense to laser pointer enthusiasts.

But to pilots who are fed up (and who are a powerful lobby) and to senators who are fed up (and who are very frequent flyers), FDA has come up with a clever workaround to get the authority that they feel has become necessary.

As I said earlier, you can rant and rail against this all you want here in the forum. Have fun and good luck with that.

Since as far as I know, FDA does not routinely monitor this forum, then I suggest you contact FDA directly if you genuinely want them to know your views.
 

CynicalBrad

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<rant>
Im still trying to figure out how the FOOD and DRUG ADMINISTRATION, got put over lasers at all...
They aren't edible, and aren't in general intended to cure, treat, or prevent any disease.
If anything they need to hand it over to the BATFE and start SERIOUSLY cracking down on these incidents.
Idiots shine lasers at planes because how hard it is to track down that one person without reasonable doubt to punish them for it.
I wouldn't even be against mandatory laser safety training courses to be able to own anything other than class IIIb pointers.
At least that way, some more of the public would be more educated on laser safety.
To anyone in this world, don't let me see you being that idiot shining a laser at or near aircraft, vehicles, or other people as I would gladly be that person to make you regret it.

I like my lasers. The government is getting desperate to limit them due to idiots doing stupid things. Anyone tries to take my lasers because of others' actions and I will take something dear to them.

</rant>
 

Hap

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<rant>
Im still trying to figure out how the FOOD and DRUG ADMINISTRATION, got put over lasers at all...
They aren't edible, and aren't in general intended to cure, treat, or prevent any disease.
If anything they need to hand it over to the BATFE and start SERIOUSLY cracking down on these incidents.
Idiots shine lasers at planes because how hard it is to track down that one person without reasonable doubt to punish them for it.
I wouldn't even be against mandatory laser safety training courses to be able to own anything other than class IIIb pointers.
At least that way, some more of the public would be more educated on laser safety.
To anyone in this world, don't let me see you being that idiot shining a laser at or near aircraft, vehicles, or other people as I would gladly be that person to make you regret it.

I like my lasers. The government is getting desperate to limit them due to idiots doing stupid things. Anyone tries to take my lasers because of others' actions and I will take something dear to them.

</rant>
Indeed. It's very clear the US government is run by a bunch of morons anyway so it dosen't surprise me the kind of things you see them doing at this point lol. How pathetic!

-Alex
 

CynicalBrad

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I just hope I can get a DL spartan 589 before they manage to get anything through. It is the only color I truly want but don't have and would be covered by this ban.
Anything I imagine the good old gov't doing anything I see a room for of morons writing themselves raises, trying to justify their existence, and passing laws without reading them other then to exempt themselves from them.
All while rolling around in taxpayer money.
 

Crazlaser

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<rant>
Im still trying to figure out how the FOOD and DRUG ADMINISTRATION, got put over lasers at all...
They aren't edible, and aren't in general intended to cure, treat, or prevent any disease.
If anything they need to hand it over to the BATFE and start SERIOUSLY cracking down on these incidents.
Idiots shine lasers at planes because how hard it is to track down that one person without reasonable doubt to punish them for it.
I wouldn't even be against mandatory laser safety training courses to be able to own anything other than class IIIb pointers.
At least that way, some more of the public would be more educated on laser safety.
To anyone in this world, don't let me see you being that idiot shining a laser at or near aircraft, vehicles, or other people as I would gladly be that person to make you regret it.

I like my lasers. The government is getting desperate to limit them due to idiots doing stupid things. Anyone tries to take my lasers because of others' actions and I will take something dear to them.

</rant>
I kind of like that idea. What do you think about some kind of online test that you can only try to pass once per year. If you pass the test the certificate is sent via internet to your local dmv where they issue you a stamp for your ID or drivers license. This ID would be required to operate all class 4 lasers out doors when on public property. Even this is an infringement on our rights, but it's better than banning them altogether. :banned::)
 

CynicalBrad

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That would be pretty neat.
Here our licenses have a section on the back for class, endorsements, and restrictions.
I could see it now,

CLASS D: D-Regular Operators License
CLASS V: V-Vessel
CLASS IV: IV-May Operate Class IV Lasers

ENDORSEMENTS:
RESTRICTIONS: Must Possess Appropriate Eye Protection
 
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Alaskan

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Side ways approaches to force their legislations are bad news on many levels, idiots.
 

CurtisOliver

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This is not good news, my country most likely will copy this frankly stupid proposition. Like Razako pointed out, 1W red absolutely fine. Chinese manufacturers will just label them at 650nm regardless of wavelength. This is just going to make things more dangerous as the buyer just won't know what they are getting.
 

Alaskan

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Our modem governments ethics pale by comparison to the past and are getting worse.
 
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Hap

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Our modem governments ethics pale by comparison to the past and are getting worse.
Definitely! I do agree with the point above regarding the wavelength. Chinese supplier will just change the wavelength of the labels and pass off different colors as other wavelengths. It shows how much of a waste of resources the government uses our money for. Instead of helping it's citizens, we are banning certain lasers due to what color they produce? What? Lol!

-Alex
 

CurtisOliver

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I agree, it is a joke. And they are the people in control.
 

Cel

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Restrictions based on color? Seems familiar, reminds me of something... :thinking:

Can't be good.
 




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