‘Laser pens peril’

'Dangerous' laser pens on sale in Hemel Hempstead shops.
'Dangerous' laser pens on sale in Hemel Hempstead shops.

A mum is warning about the dangers of seemingly harmless cheap laser pens that have the potential to cause blindness, and could be put into children’s Christmas stockings by unknowing parents.

Alison Phillips has spoken out after her 12-year-old son got into trouble at school when he took in the ‘Super Bright LED Laser Pointer’ he bought at a Hemel Hempstead bargain store for just 99p.

Alison, of Boxmoor, said: “I am concerned that dangerous laser pointers which can potentially cause retinal damage and even blindness are being sold to young children, and which could end up in children’s stockings.

“Cheap laser pointers have usually passed inadequate procedures in manufacturing quality assurance.

“I have written to trading standards and await a reply as I would like them to issue a recall on any sold products.”

The laser that her son bought carried a warning sign and is classified on the Health Protection Agency’s website as potentially hazardous and ‘can potentially cause eye injuries’.

After discovering that her son had one of the laser pens, Alison decided to investigate what other town centre shops were selling them and discovered the brightly coloured fun looking torches are not hard to come by.

She said: “Speaking to the shopkeepers, it is evident that there is very little general knowledge or understanding of the potential risks.

“Even in reputable shops not all staff were aware of the risks and there were no warning signs on display.”

Two stores that she visited, including the one where her son purchased a pen laser, have since withdrawn them from their shelves after Alison flagged up the dangers.

“If anyone has got them, please don’t give them to your children,” she said.

Spokesman for Herts Trading Standards Jo Brown said: “We are currently looking into a complaint we received about a store selling laser pens.

“As a general rule, toys with lasers should be labelled as laser class 1 and no higher.

“We would advise any consumers who have doubts or concerns over the safety of a product to contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06.”

More information on laser pens can be found on the Health Protection Agency’s website by searching the topics section at www.hpa.org.uk