Skip to main content
Welcome to the cutting edge of safety science—Learn more about our rebrand.
  • Press Release

Third Party Laser Pointer Safety Testing is Essential for Consumer Safety

October 23, 2013

UL assists laser pointer retailers and manufacturers in testing compliance to U.S. FDA CDRH requirements

Northbrook, Ill. - Oct 23, 2013 - UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a world leader in advancing safety science, announces the launch of its new laser safety testing offering for laser pointer retailers and manufacturers.

The increasingly widespread applications of laser pointers, and the growing number of incidents in connection with these devices being misused have aroused concerns about laser pointer safety.  Recent testing performed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which revealed that many laser pointers were not in compliance with U.S. federal safety regulations, points to the need for third party confirmation of a laser pointer manufacturer's self-certification to the FDA requirements1

"Laser powers over 5mW can be hazardous, causing potential issues such as temporary visual problems or eye injuries.  Therefore, the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates a laser power limit of 5mW for visible hand-held laser pointers (equivalent to CDRH Class IIIa or IEC Class 3R).  Laser pointers over 5mW cannot be legally sold or marketed in, or imported into the United States," said Winn Henderson, subject matter expert for Optical Radiation, UL. 

Currently, to meet U.S. federal safety regulations, laser product manufacturers are only required to submit a self-certified CDRH report and obtain an acknowledgment letter from the CDRH for marketing, selling, or importing the product into the United States.

"Despite not requiring third party checks by law, some retailers  request  laser pointer manufacturers to provide a third party laser safety report in order to sell their laser pointers and  better protect consumer  safety.  Therefore many manufacturers are approaching UL for laser testing, classification, and CDRH report services to meet these retailer requirements," said Henderson.

For more information visit

1 NIST Document - NIST Tests Underscore Potential Hazards of Green Laser
Pointers - March 20, 2013 (

About UL
UL is a premier global independent safety science company that has championed progress for 120 years. Its more than 10,000 professionals are guided by the UL mission to promote safe working and living environments for all people. UL uses research and standards to continually advance and meet ever-evolving safety needs. We partner with businesses, manufacturers, trade associations and international regulatory authorities to bring solutions to a more complex global supply chain. For more information about our certification, testing, inspection, advisory and education services, visit