Laser Light Show Safety Who s Responsible by GovernmentDocs


									                      HHS Publication FDA 86-8262

                June 1 9 8 0
             Revised May 1986

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
             Public Health Service
        Food and Drug Administration
  Center for Devices and Radiological Health
          Rockville, Maryland 20857
CHAPTERl: BACKGROUND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
  A Word About Radiation and Laser Light
  Lasers-A Special Kind of Light
  Laser Hazards

CHAPTER 2: GOVERNMENT REQUIREMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
  FDA's Regulatory Standard for Lasers
  What the FDA Standard means for Laser Light Shows
  Open Air Lasers and the Federal Aviation
    Administration Requirements
  State and Local Requirements for Laser Light Shows

CHAPTER 3: INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
  Responsibilities of Laser Manufacturers and Operators
  Responsibilities of Facility Managers Where Laser Shows
   are Held
  What the Public Should Know About Laser Safety

APPENDIX I-How          Lasers Work     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..26

APPEN DlX II-Addresses of FAA Offices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 0

APPENDIX ill-Addresses of State Radiation Control Offices . . . .32
L    aser light is one of the
     most exciting visual phe-
nomena to illuminate the en-
                                   from electronic products, in-
                                   cluding lasers. FDA's authority
                                   includes regulating the manufac-
tertainment scene in recent        ture and assembly of lasers, re-
years. Laser light shows have      quiring corrective action for
been used to complement the        those that do not comply with
music of such diverse groups       the safety regulations and
as the Philadelphia Orchestra      educating people about laser
and rock groups like KISS,         safety. Several State radiation
WINGS, and the Electric Light      agencies are also active in the
Orchestra. Lasers are becom-       control of laser products and
ing routine features of plane-     their use.
tari ums, discotheques, confer-       The laser products that are in
ences, amusement parks, state      compliance with the laser stan-
fairs, and even shopping           dard have certain safety features
malls.                             to reduce the chance of ac-
   As beautiful as they can be,    cidents. But such efforts cannot
high power laser beams can         ensure absolute safety. It i s up to
be dangerous if they are not       the laser operator and other
used with a serious concern        responsible parties to see that
for safety. Accidental exposure    the laser is used in a safe man-
to a high power laser beam         ner.
can cause permanent eye dam-          We hope this booklet will help
age and severe skin burns. With    those who sponsor, arrange for,
laser shows that are designed      set up, insure or are otherwise
andlor operated by competent       involved with light shows, to
and conscientious people, the      carry out their part in laser safe-
chance of such accidents is        ty. The booklet assumes no
negligible. Unfortunately,         technical background. It
however, several light shows       describes the possible hazards,
have been operated in a            government requirements and
haphazard and hazardous man-       individual responsibilities in laser
ner.                               light shows. The relevant gov-
   The Food and Drug Admin-        ernment offices are included so
 istration is the Federal agency   people can get more information
 responsible for protecting the    on their responsibilities and other
 public from radiation hazards     aspects of laser light show safety.
          U LTRA-         INFRA   MICRO     FMITV
X RAYS    VIOLET           RED    WAVES     WAVES

              VISIBLE LIGHT

BLUE     GREEN          YELLOW        RED
                                               Chapter I


T   he fact that lasers give off radiation
    may be a surprise to some. Let's
clarify this point right away.

                         short waves are

effects of the various types of radiations.
   So, although laser light is part of this
family of radiations, it should not be con-
fused with the others. For example, un-
like x rays or radioactivity, visible light
radiation has not been associated with
causing cancer or genetic damage.
   Light radiation falls on the spectrum of
radiations ranging from ultraviolet
through infrared (or heat). Within this
range, only a small band of wavelengths
is visible to the human eye. Each color
that we see is actually light radiation of a
particular wave1,ength. Visible light spans
from violet, with short waves, t o red,
with longer waves. Lasers generally give
off visible or optical radiation; some
lasers can also give off radiation in the
ultraviolet or infrared ranges that we
can't see. Of course, lasers used in light
shows give off visible radiation.
E  ssentially, the laser light
   that creates such spectacular
and exotic effects, is the same
radiation that comes from an or-
dinary light bulb... but it has
some important differences. Laser
light can have the purest and
brightest of colors. And it can be
thousands of times more intense
than the light by which we read.
   The light from a light bulb
radiates in all directions. If you
were able to separate and trace
the waves of light, you'd see a
jumble of different wavelengths,
and directions. In the light from a
light bulb all the colors of the
spectrum (i.e., the various
wavelengths) are present and add
to each other so that the light ap-
pears white.
   Because the light from a light
bulb spreads out, its power falls
off or decreases as you move far-
ther away. This is because of a
property called "divergence."
Think of a flashlight, whose light
beam spreads out as you move
farther away from it. This
divergence or spreading out of
the beam means that the power
of the light is spread over an in-
creasingly larger area as you
 move farther away.
A Special Kind of Light
   Laser light is quite different. All
the light waves in a laser beam
can have the same wavelength.
Furthermore, they are in phase
with each other. They travel in
locked-step or synchronized pat-
terns. This unique property of
laser light is called "coherence."
Again, color depends upon the
wavelength. Since a laser beam is
composed of light of the same
wavelength, it has an extraor-
dinarily pure color.
   And, most important, unlike the
flashlight, a laser beam does not
diverge or spread out very much.
The laser light can travel in a very
 narrow beam even over long dis-
tances. Because of this, its power
 can be extremely concentrated. In
fact, some lasers can produce a
 beam of light that, even miles
 away, can be thousands of times
 brighter than the sun's surface ap-
 pears from earth. The fact that a
 laser beam can retain such high
 power, even over long distances,
 partly accounts for its use in light
 shows and many other applica-
tions. But this same fact also ac-
 counts for its potential hazard.
  A laser beam loses very little power
when it i s reflected off a smooth, shiny
surface. W h e n the light from a light bulb
is reflected off a mirror, it continues to
diverge and spread its energy over even
larger areas. When a laser beam is
reflected off a mirror or other smooth,
shiny surfaces, such as water, glass, metal
beams or a glossy floor, it still does not
diverge very much. So a reflected laser
beam can have almost the same power
and potentially the same hazard as a
direct laser beam.

                            Ordinary light
                      reflects off a mirror
        and its beam continues to diverge.
Laser light reflects
off a mirror and still
does not diverge very much
                Mirror balls are frequently used in light
              shows to separate and reflect the laser
              beam into many rays of laser light. When
              done properly, this can significantly
              reduce the power and, therefore, the
              potential hazard of a laser beam. If the
              beam is reflected off enough facets on
              the mirror ball, the resulting rays will go
              off in many directions. Although the
              individual rays still do not diverge very
              much, each has only a fraction of the
              power in the direct beam. Obviously, the
              degree of safety that this can produce
              depends upon the power of the direct
              laser beam, and the number of rays and
              directions into which the beam is split.

No scanning
The more rays into which the beam is
split, the smaller the fraction of power
each reflected ray will have. A scanning
device is usually used to sweep the beam
back and forth across a broad section of
the mirror ball so that the beam is broken
up by several facets on the ball. Rotating
the mirror ball can provide even more
safety because the movement of the re-
flected rays reduces any exposure time.
Without a scanning device, or without a
properly designed scanning system, the
beam is broken by the mirror ball into
fewer rays, each having a larger fraction
of the power in the direct beam. This
means that even with a mirror ball there
could still be a potential for harm.

built in
   If a laser beam i s reflected off a
rough or irregular surface, like a
concrete wall or even some
"walls" of smoke, the irregulari-
ties in the surface scatter the
beam in many different directions.
The beam is forced to diverge and
therefore lose some of its power.
 However, a very high powered
 laser beam can still retain enough
of its intensity after reflecting off a
 rough or irregular surface to cause
 injury. In addition, some rough
surfaces may have shiny spots that
 allow for a mirror-like reflection
 of part of the beam.
L&ER           HAZARDS
             T   he high powered lasers that
                 are increasingly used in
             laser shows can produce
             enough light radiation to cause
             permanent eye damage as well
             as severe skin burns. Should
             any accidental direct exposure
             occur, there is a high chance of
             injury to the individual.
                The lens and cornea of the
             eye concentrate light and focus
             it on the retina. In a sense, the
             eye acts like a magnifying lens
             to concentrate the light. The
             retina translates the light into
             nerve impulses that travel
             through the optic nerve to the
             brain, where an image is

       Optic Nerve,

perceived. If a laser beam            The question of safety or
enters the pupil of the eye, its    hazard with laser light shows is
power is concentrated by the        "To what levels of power might
lens into a smaller area,           people be exposed?" The mere
resulting in more light and heat    presence of a high powered
per unit area. The intensity of     laser does not necessarily pose
the laser beam can actually be      a hazard. Scanning safeguards
increased by 10,000 times or        and other means can be taken
more by the time it reaches the     to protect people from laser
retina! If the laser beam strikes   hazards. But:
the eye from the side (hitting
the area of the eye used for            There i s a hazard whenever
peripheral vision), damage can      a high power laser beam could
occur but may not be noticed        possibly strike someone, par-
right away, although a number       ticularly i n the eyes.
of burns in this part of the
retina might impair vision. If          The beam could be dangerous
the beam comes directly head        even if it i s reflected off a
on at the eye (striking the eye's   smooth or shiny surface. If the
area for sharp vision) the burn     laser is high enough in power,
could result in a very notice-      it could be dangerous even
able blind spot or other serious    when the beam i s reflected off
impairments to vision. It may       a rough surface or scattered by
only take a fraction of a second    fog or smoke.
for the damage to occur.
   Because the eye focuses light,
it is the most sensitive part of    H It only takes a fraction of a
the body to laser radiation. But    second to cause serious injury!
severe skin burns can also be
caused by laser light. With           These are the reasons for the
some lasers, you can light a        government's safety requirements
cigarette merely by putting the     for laser light shows. But such
end of it in the laser beam. If     efforts cannot ensure absolute
the beam has enough power to        safety. So it is important that
light a cigarette, you can im-      you, as a person involved with
agine the kind of skin burns it     producing a laser show, carry
could cause.                        out your part in laser safety.
                             CHAPTER 2

        ALL LASERS

        A    II laser products made
             since August 1976 must
        meet the FDA laser perfor-
        mance standard. Each manufac-
        turer of laser products must
        report to FDA about the types
        of laser products produced.
          The standard divides laser
        products into four classes, bas-
        ed on the potential for injuring
        people and the intensity of the
        radiation in the laser beam (the
        power of the laser beam is
        measured in watts*).

           Class I products produce
        levels of radiation that have not
        been found to cause biological
        damage. Class I visible radiation
        lasers emit less than 0.39 mi-
        crowatts (or 0.39 millionths of a
        watt) continuous output.

        *The term "watts," when used to describe
        laser output, is NOT equivalent to wattage,
        when used to describe an electric light.
        Refer to page 28 of Appendix I for an ex-
        planation of the distinction.


   Class II lasers produce radiation-   WHAT THE FDA
that could cause eye damage             STANDARD MEANS
after direct, long-term exposure.
Class II lasers emit less than 1        FOR
milliwatt (or 1 thousandth of a         LASER LIGHT SHOWS
watt) continuous output.

   Class Ill laser products pro-           FDA's standard was developed
duce radiation powerful enough          when the use of lasers in the
to injure human tissue with one         entertainment world was in its
short exposure to the direct            infancy. Lasers for demonstration
beam or its direct reflections off      purposes fell primarily into
a shiny surface. Class Ill visible      Class I or II and the standard
radiation lasers emit less than         reflected this. But because of
500 milliwatts (or one-half watt)       the low visibility of their beams,
continuous output.                      Class I and II lasers are not
                                        effective with very large crowds.
  Class Ill is subdivided into          The light shows at concerts and
Classes llla and Illb. Class llla is    discotheques nowadays often
limited to five milliwatts in the       use Class lllb and even Class IV
visible spectrum. More stringent        lasers. FDA recognizes that it is
requirements apply to Class lllb        possible to use these high
lasers.                                 powered lasers in such a way
                                        that they will be as safe as
   Class IV lasers produce radi-        Class I and II demonstration
ation so powerful that it can cause     lasers as long as the manufacturers
injury with a direct or reflected       can assure safety. FDA does
exposure, even when the beam            this by means of a "variance."
is scattered or diffused by a           A variance is permission from
rough surface or even by some           FDA to deviate from one or
smoke screens. Class IV visible         more of the requirements of a
radiation lasers emit more than         standard when alternate steps
one-half watt continuous output.        are taken to assure safety. Before
                                        May 1980, all of the safety
   All laser products above Class I,    requirements described below
made after August 1976, must            were imposed for laser shows
have labels that indicate the           except the requirement of an
class to which they belong.             approved variance prior to per-
Additional safety design and            formance. As of September 20,
labeling features are required          1985, the following policy is
according to the class of the           legally binding:
   Before Class lllb or Class I V     FDA uses several safety criteria
lasers are sold, used in perfor-    to determine whether a variance
mances, or otherwise introduced     will be granted to a laser light
into commerce for demon-            show. These criteria include:
stration or entertainment pur-
poses, manufacturers must           H The laser must meet all the
have an approved variance           design and labeling require-
from FDA.                           ments of its class and the
 W Laser manufacturers include
people who make laser pro-          H Laser radiation cannot ex-
duds and people who receive         ceed Class I limits where the
compensation to design, as-         audience is located. (This can
semble, or modify a laser pro-      be achieved by proper use of
jector and/or light show.           mirror balls, scanning devices,
                                    or other safeguards.)
   This means that a musical
group or others are considered      H If devices, like mirror balls or
manufacturers if they assemble      flat mirrors, are used to reflect
a show. . .even if the act of       the beam, scanning safeguards
manufacture is simply setting       or other measures are required
up a show in a particular loca-     to make sure that laser radiation
tion or changing a general pur-     above Class I will not acci-
pose laser to light show use,       dentally go into the audience.
without adding any new laser        H Performers cannot be exposed
components. This does not           to radiation above Class I limits
mean that "all the world's a        if they must view the laser beam
laser manufacturer." And it         in the course of a performance.
does not mean that a separate       When they don't have to view
variance is needed for each         the laser beam, performers can-
laser show. But it does mean        not be exposed to radiation
that first, the manufacturers of    above Class I limits.
all Class lllb or IV laser pro-
ducts used in shows that do             If the laser is not under the
not already have a variance,        continuous control of an opera-
must obtain one for each type       tor, laser radiation above Class
of show performed. Second, all      II limits must be restricted so
l'man~fact~rerslf  must submit      that it comes no closer than 6
to FDA a report on all thetypes     meters (about 20 feet) above,
of laser products manufactured.     or 2.5 meters (about 8 feet) on
A variance must be obtained         the sides or below the floor
before a laser can be used in a     where the audience would be.
performance or display.
   If the laser is under the con-    and restrictions on the location
tinuous control of an operator,      of the operator or performers.
laser radiation above Class II
limits can come no closer than           Once a variance is granted,
3 meters (about 10 feet) above       representatives of FDA must
or 2.5 meters (about 8 feet) on      be allowed to inspect the laser
the sides or below the floor         equipment and the safety pro-
where the audience would be.         cedures to assure that the con-
                                     ditions of the variance are
   Appropriate controls must be
taken to make sure that un-               FDA should be notified i n
authorized persons cannot in-        writing of all shows at least 1
terfere with the safe operation      month i n advance. When this
of the laser. A person must be       i s not possible bcause of last
designated as the laser safety       minute scheduling, FDA
officer who will be responsible      should be notified by tele-
for shutting down the laser          phone as soon as possible and
should any unsafe conditions         then a written confirmation
occur (e.g., should individuals      should be sent to FDA.
in the audience try to get
within the direct laser beam by         Anyone who operates laser
climbing on a chair or some-         light shows without an approv-
one's shoulders, or should           ed FDA variance or who other-
reflective articles be thrown in     wise violates the FDA laser safe-
the beam). In some situations,       ty standard may be subject to a
as when the audience becomes         court injunction andlor civil
unruly, strict security measures     penalties (fines up to $300,000)
should be taken to keep the          as provided for in Section 360C
laser operating area free and        of the Radiation Control for
under the full control of the        Health and Safety Act. When
authorized personnel.                FDA becomes aware of a par-
                                     ticular laser show that i s
                                     operated in violation of the law
   Other criteria may be includ-     or otherwise in an irresponsible
ed depending upon the particu-       fashion, FDA will notify the
lar show. They may include           manufacturer or operator and
such requirements as com-            require corrective action. If the
pliance with State and local re-     problem is serious, FDA will
quirements, contacting the           also notify the State and local
Federal Aviation Administration      authorities and facility
for outdoor shows, certification      managers who can take addi-
of operators, use of laser cut-off   tional, immediate legal steps to
devices or safety shields, time       halt a hazardous show.
limitations for particular effects
  To apply for a variance or for           FAA will not object to open
more information about the             air shows with Class IV laser
variance status of a particular        beam powers between one-half
laser show manufacturer, re-           and 12 watts if the laser manu-
porting requirements, variance         facturerloperator informs FAA
applications and safe operation        of the location, time and laser
of laser light shows, contact:         output sufficiently in advance
  Office of Compliance HFZ-312         of the show and if FAA can
  Center for Devices and               restrict the air traffic in the
       Radiological Health
  8757 Georgia Avenue
  Silver Spring, MD 20910                  In most cases, FAA will ob-
  (301) 427-8228
                                       ject if the laser beam power is
                                       greater than 12 watts. A laser of
O P E N AIR LASER                      this power is rarely needed for
LIGHT SHOWS A N D                      an effective light show and
FAA REQUIREMENTS                       could require extensive restric-
                                       tions on air traffic.
   Even though the chances are            Notification to the FAA of a
small that an aircraft passenger       proposed open air laser light
or pilot would be injured by a
                                       show should be made in writ-
laser beam from an outdoors            ing at least 2 weeks and pre-
light show, the possibility of
                                       ferably 4 weeks in advance of
harm does exist. Therefore, the        the performance. FAA can
Federal Aviation Administration        usually respond with a
must be notified before any            determination within 7 days.
open air laser light shows
                                       The notification should be
operate.                               directed to the Chief of the
     FAA will not object if the        Airspace and Procedures
output power of the laser beam         Branch at the regional office
is less than or equal to one half      having jurisdiction over the
watt (that is, the laser is Class I,   area where the laser show will
II, or Ill). As long as aircraft fly   take place. The addresses and
no closer than the required            phone numbers of the ap-
1,000 feet over congested areas        propriate office for each area
or over an outdoor assembly of         will be found in Appendix II.
people, there should be little
risk from a laser beam of this
power. If the show is adjacent
to an airport, however, the FAA
may object because of the
possible risk to aircraft landing
and taking off.
STATE AND LOCAL                         Date(s) and time of perfor-
                                     mance (if it is not an ongoing
LASER LIGHT SHOW                     show)
                                         Length of time laser will be
   State and municipal govern-       in operation
ments can have their own re-
quirements, beyond those of             Expected attendance
FDA and FAA, with which laser          Class of laser and name of
light shows must comply when         manufacturer
operating in their jurisdictions.
Presently, 6 State agencies have       Sketches to describe the
specific legislation for lasers      design or layout of the show
and 25 have the authority to
                                        If Class lllb or IV laser pro-
develop specific laser regula-
                                     duct, FDA variance and acces-
tions. In addition, all States and
                                     sion number and date of the
many local agencies have the
                                     variance approval
authority to take action if a
laser show endangers the gen-          Since the State requirements
eral health and safety of the        vary, it is important that laser
public. Several States have clos-    show operators or facility
ed down laser shows that             managers contact the appro-
violated the FDA safety re-          priate office directly to notify
quirements.                          the authorities of the operation
   The State agencies with the       of a laser show and to ascertain
responsibility for radiation con-    what, if any, additional re-
trol should be notified in ad-       quirements exist. The State per-
vance of laser shows operating       sonnel will also be aware of
within the State boundaries.         any relevant municipal re-
The following information            quirements. Managers of
 should be provided in writing       facilities where laser shows are
 by the laser safety officer from    held should be familiar with
 either the operating group or       any local safety requirements.
the facility where the show i s      The addresses and phone
 held:                                numbers of the State radiation
                                     control offices will be found in
   Name, address, and phone
                                     Appendix I l l of this booklet.
number of laser safety officer(s1
or operator(s)
    Name, address, and phone
number of the auditorium facili-
ty and the manager
    T V Dof laser show
                         CHAPTER 3

        O F LASER

        L   aser manufacturers (in-
            cluding operators or people
        who set up or assemble laser
        systems) should have a good
        understanding of the FDA laser
        performance standard, the
        requirements for the class of
        laser product with which they
        are concerned and the safety
        requirements for laser light
        show operations.
           FDA and State personnel are
        available to help you make sure
        that your shows are run safely
        and in compliance with the
        law. For more information,
        contact the appropriate State
        office listed in Appendix Ill of
        this booklet, or:
          Office of Compliance HFZ-312
          Center for Devices and
               Radiological Health
          8757 Georgia Avenue
          Silver Spring, MD 20910
          (301) 427-8228
  Specifically, the following            If you are responsible for an
responsibilities are those of the    outdoor laser light show, you
laser manufacturer or operator       must notify the Federal Aviation
of light shows:                      Administration. (See Appendix
                                     II of this booklet for a list of
    You must notify FDA, i n         which FAA office must be con-
writing, at least 1 month in ad-     tacted.)
vance of a show. In cases of
traveling shows, you may want           If there are any radiation ac-
to send to FDA the schedule          cidents or alleged accidents,
for the entire tour. When this is    that is, if someone is hurt or an
not possible because of last         accidental exposure to a laser
minute scheduling, you should        beam of Class Ill or IV occurs,
notify FDA by telephone as far       you must report the incident to
in advance as possible and then      the local authority and FDA
confirm it in writing.               regardless of whether any ac-
H You must contact the State         tual injuries occurred.
or local radiation control
authorities in writing in ad-           As of September 20, 1985, if
vance of conducting a laser          you will be using a Class lllb or
show in their jurisdiction.          IV laser in light shows or displays,
Again, when this is not possi-       you must submit a variance ap-
ble, you should telephone the        lication and receive an approved
State agency as far in advance       variance from FDA before a
as feasible. The information you     performance. You may be asked
should provide to the State i s      to show the documents to verify
listed on page 21 of this book-      your variance to State or local
let. In some areas, they also        authorities and facility managers.
have operating requirements          In fact, this is required in some
beyond FDA's. (See Appendix          jurisdictions. Because the public
Ill of this booklet for ii list of   is becoming increasingly aware
the State authorities who must       of potential laser hazards, you
be contacted .)                      may want to include a statement
                                     in any promotional advertising
H You should also provide            of your laser show that it will
to the facility manager the          be operated in conformance
information that is given to         with FDA laser safety criteria. If
the State authority.                 you do so, however, you can-
                                     not imply that the show is
                                     "endorsed" or "approved" by
    Before granting a variance,     RESPONSIBILITIES OF
FDA will require that a report be
filed describing your laser pro-
                                    THE MANAGERS O F
ducts and the manner by which       FACILITIES WHERE
they comply with the FDA laser      LASER SHOWS
safety standard and the con-
ditions of any variances. This      ARE HELD
"initial report" must be followed      In order to safeguard your
up by a "model change report"       audiences,you should be aware
should you plan to introduce a      of the safety requirements plac-
new or modified laser show or       ed on the manufacturers and
device into commerce. An            operators of laser shows by
annual report must also be sub-     Federal, State and local
mitted by September 1 of each       authorities. To avoid possible
year summarizing the testing        liability for laser injuries, see
and the records that must be        that any shows in your facility
maintained.                         have complied with the legal
                                    NOTE: The laser operator should
                                    provide to you the information
                                    about the class of laser to be
                                    used and its variance status. A
                                    laser product should have a
                                    label indicating its class. If the
                                    laser is Class lllb or IV, the
                                    company responsible for the
                                    laser should have documentation
                                    (an accession and variance
                                    number) from FDA granting a
                                    variance. you can contact the
                                    State authority (see Appendix Ill
                                    of this booklet) or FDA to verify
                                    the status of a company's
                                    O n e person, either the laser
                                    company's operator, or where
                                    there is no operator, an em-
                                    ployee from the facility, should
                                    be designated as laser safety of-
                                    ficer. A laser safety officer
                                    should be in attendance
whenever a laser is i n opera-        WHAT THE PUBLIC
tion and should be responsible
for shutting down the laser           SHOULD KNOW
should any unsafe conditions          ABOUT LASER SAFETY
                                         Laser light shows can be ex-
n    order to properly set up         citing but they can also be
and align a laser light system        hazardous if someone is ac-
that can be operated safely,          cidentally struck (particularly in
laser groups will need time in        the eyes) by direct, reflected or
the facility before the show          even diffuse high power laser
without members of the public         radiation.
present. They will need the              You have a right to enjoy a
electrical power and water sup-       laser show knowing that your
ply set up early enough to test       safety i s provided for by the
and align the equipment. De-          laser manufacturer, the laser
pending upon the complexity           operator and the management
of the system, the preparation        of the facility where the show is
for a show may take up to             held. Should you have reason
several hours. Should a full in-      to believe that a show is not
spection by FDA representa-           being run safely - that is, that
tives be found necessary, it may      the precautions spelled out in
require an additional hour or         this booklet are not being taken
two prior to the show. This           - talk with the laser operator
should be allowed for in the          or people in charge of the faci-
scheduling of performances.           lity, or call the State authority
                                      (listed in Appendix Ill). If you
.Should any accident occur            are aware of anyone being in-
with the laser, you should            jured at a laser show, report it
report the incident to the State      to the State authority or FDA.
authority and to FDA.

   FDA and State personnel are
available to help you ensure
that laser shows in your facility
are run safely and in com-
pliance with the law. Contact
the FDA or the appropriate
State office listed in Appendix Ill
for more information.
                          APPENDIX I

      L   aser is an acronym for "Light
          Amplification by Stimulated Emis-
      sion of Radiation." The actual
      material that produces the laser light
      is called the lasing medium. It may
      be either a solid, liquid or a gas.
      Most large light shows use gas lasers
      with either krypton gas or a mixture
      of argon and krypton gases. Helium-
      neon gas lasers are common in
      smaller laser displays. The gas i s
      usually contained in a long, thin
      cylindrical glass tube. The pressure
      and the concentration of the gas in-
      side the tube must be just right or
      else the laser will not operate.
         At one end of the tube is a totally
      reflecting mirror; at the other end is
      a partially transmitting mirror (that
      is, it allows a small portion of light
      to pass through). Like a fluorescent
      light bulb, the lasers in light shows
      will work only when an electric cur-
      rent passes through the tube con-
      taining the gases.
         When the electrical energy enters
      the tube, it "excites" the atoms of
      the lasing medium. What actually
      happens is the electrons of an atom
      absorb the electrical energy by jum-
      ping to higher energy states. After a
      small fraction of a second, the elec-
      trons will "fall" back to their normal
      energy state. When they do so, the
      atom gives off the excess energy in
      the form of a "photon" or small
      packet of light radiation.
     Atom in              Atom in      Atom Returns to Normal
   Normal State         Excited Sate       by Giving Off
Nucleus     Electron

   Depending upon the amount of
energy absorbed, the atom will
give off a phpton with a particular
wavelength. This photon of light
can trigger (or "stimulate") the
release (or "emission") of similar
photons from the other excited
atoms in the lasing medium. The
photons bounce back and forth
between the two mirrors at the
ends of the tube. As they bounce
back and forth they continue to
trigger more and more photons,
building up to higher and higher
intensity. The stimulated photons
of light radiation are of the same
wavelength and move in the same
direction a the original photons.
Some of this light will pass out
through the partially transmitting
mirror at the end of the tube. This
is the laser beam with the unique
characteristic described before:

 ,,,bbbbbbb,b                                Mirror
 4       4 444444
    You may be wondering how           The atomic structure of kryp-
a laser beam that i s supposed       ton gas i s relatively complex. It
to be composed of light waves        has 36 electrons. S a krypton
with the same wavelength can         atom has many electrons at dif-
result in the numerous color ef-     ferent energy states available to
fects that are frequently seen i n   absorb and then emit photons
light shows. The answer lies in      of various wavelengths and
the atomic structure of the las-     therefore various colors. By in-
ing medium and in the fact that      corporating a prism at the end
the atom can release more than       of the laser, the photons of the
one level of energy at the same      particular wavelengths (or col-
time.                                ors) can be separated into
   Each of the electron orbits of    several rays of different colors.
an atom is bound to the
 nucleus by a specific level of         Another point that should be
energy. Those close to the           clarified has to do with the units
 nucleus are bound progres-          by which the output of a laser is
sively more tightly. Those fur-      measured. Although the term
ther away from the nucleus are       "watt" is used to describe both
 bound progressively less tightly.   lasers and conventional electric
 In order for an electron to         devices like light bulbs, the term
jump to another energy state, it     can refer to very different things.
 must have absorbed a specific       When you have a 100 watt light
 amount of additional energy to      bulb, the wattage refers to the
 "boost" it into that higher         power input or the electricity re-
 state. And likewise, when that      quired to make the bulb work.
 electron falls back to its normal
 state, the atom wilt give off the
 same specific amount of
 energy. The wavelength or col-
 or of the photon given off is
 determined by this specific
 amount of energy.
The output from a 100 watt light
bulb is about 15 watts. And again,
the 15 watts of energy coming out
of a light bulb is spread out in all
directions. When you have a 1
watt laser, the wattage refers to
the optical output of the laser.
This 1 watt of optical radiation i s
traveling in a narrow, concen-
trated beam in one direction. At a
distance of 100 feet, the light from
the 1 watt laser can be about 1
million times more concentrated
than from the light bulb!

    It should also be pointed out
that the physical size of a laser
has little bearing on its power out-
put. There are many lasers that
are physically small, but have
more power output than some
large ones. The only reliable way
of telling the power output of a
laser is to look at the label on the
product, which should indicate its
class and absolute maximum
power output.
                 APPENDIX II

     A        REGIONAL


          Alaskan Regional Office
          P.O. Box 14
          Anchorage, AK 9951 3
          (907) 271-5645

          Central Regional Office
          601 E. 12th St.
          Kansas City, M O 64106
          (816) 374-5626

          Eastern Regional Office
          Federal Building
          JFK International Airport
          Jamaica, N Y 11430
          (212) 917-1005

          Great Lakes Regional Office
          2300 E. Devon Ave.
          Des Plains, IL 60018
          (312) 694-7294

          New England Regional Office
          12 New England Executive Park
          Burlington, M A 01803
          (617) 273-7244

          Northwest Regional Office
          1 7900 Pacific Highway S.
          Seattle, W A 981 68
          (206) 431 -2001

          Southern Regional Office
          P.O. Box 20636
          Atlanta, GA 30320
          (404) 763-7222

          Southwest Regional Office
          P.O. Box 1689
          Ft. Worth, TX 76101
          (817) 877-2100

          Western-Pacific Regional Office
          P.O. Box 92007
          Worldway Postal Center
          Los Angeles, CA 90009
          (213) 536-6427
                                                                 APPENDIX Ill

For information on State and local requirements for laser light shows, contact the
appropriate office listed below.

Division of Rad. Hlth.           Office of Rad. Control          Radiation Control Br.
State Dept. of Public Hlth.      Dept. of Hlth. & Rehab. Sew.    275 E. Main St.
State Office Bldg.               1317 Winewood Blvd.             Frankfort, KY 40621
Montgomery, AL 361 30            Tallahassee, FL 32301           (502) 564-3700
(205) 261-5315                   (904) 487-1004                  Nuclear Energy Div.
Radiological Hlth. Program       Radiological Hlth. Sect.        Ofc. of Air Quality
Dept. of Hlth. & Soc. Serv.      Dept. of Human Resources             and Nuclear Energy
Pouch H-06F                      878 Peachtree St., Rm. 600      Div. of Env. Quality
Juneau, AK 9981 1-9976           Atlanta, GA.30309               P.O. Box 14690
(907) 465-3019                   (404) 894-5795                  Baton Rouge, LA 70898-4690
Arizona Rad. Reg. Agency         Bureau of Env. Hlth.            (504) 925-4518
925 S. 52nd St., Suite 2         Dept. of Public Hlth.           Division of Hlth. Eng.
Tempe, AZ 85281                       and Soc. Sew.              157 Capital St.
(602) 262-801 1                  P.O. Box 2816                   Augusta, ME 04333
Division of Rad. Control         Agana, GU 96910                 (207) 289-3826
      and Emergency Mgmt.        (6711 734-2671                  Division of Rad. Control
Dept. of Hlth.                   '~oise  and Rad. Branch         Dept. of Hlth. & Mental Hyg.
4815 W. Markham St.              Dept. of Hlth.                  201 W. Preston St.
Little Rock, AR 72201            591 Ala Moana Blvd.             Baltimore, M D 21201
(5011 661 -2301                  Honolulu, HI 96813              (301) 225-6981
Radiological Hlth. Sect.         (808) 548-4383                  Radiation Control Prog.
State Dept. of Hlth. Serv.       Radiation Control Sect.         Dept. of Public Hlth.
714 P St., Ofc. Bldg. #8         Dept. of Hlth. & Welfare        150 Tremont St., 7th FI.
Sacramento, CA 95814             Statehouse Mail                 Boston, MA 021 11
(916) 322-2073                   Boise, ID 83720                 (617) 727-6214
 Radiation Control Div.          (2081 334-4107                  Division of Rad. Hlth.
 Dept. of Hlth.                   Department of Nuclear Safety   3500 N. Logan St.
4210 E. 11th Ave.                 1035 Outer Park Dr.            P.O. Box 30035
 Denver, CO 80220                Springfield, IL 62704           Lansing, M I 48909
 (303) 320-8333 ext. 6246         (217) 546-8100                 (517) 373-1 578
 Radiation Control Unit           Radiological Hlth. Sect.       Section of Rad. Hlth.
 Dept. of Env. Protection         SGte B&rd of Hlth.              Dept. of Hlth.
 State Ofc. Bldg.                 1330 W. Michigan St.           71 7 Delaware St., S E
 165 Capital Ave.                 P.O. Box 1964                   P.O. Box 9441
 Hartford, CT 061 06              Indianapolis, IN 46206         Minneapolis, M N 55440
 (203) 566-5668                   (317) 633-0152                  (6121 623-5323
 Office of Rad. Control           Environmental Hlth. Sect.       Division of Rad. Hlth.
 Dept. of Hlth. & Soc. Serv.      Dept. of Hlth.                  State Dept. of Hlth.
 Robbins Bldg.                    Lucas State Ofc. Bldg.          31 50 Lawson St.
 Silver Lake Plaza                Des Moines, IA 5031 9           P.O. Box 1700
 P.O. Box 637                     (515) 281-4928                  Jackson, MS 3921 5-1 700
 Dover, DE 19901                  Bureau of Air Quality           (601) 354-6657
 (302) 736-4731                        and Rad. Control           Bureau of Rad. Hlth.
  Department of Consumer          Dept. of Hlth. & Envivon.       1730 E. Elm Plaza
       and Reg. Affairs           Forbes Field. Bldg. 321         P.O. Box 570
  Sewice Fac. Reg. Admin.                    S
                                  Topeka, K 66620                 Jefferson City. M O 65102
  614 H St., NW. Rm. 1014          (913) 862-9360                 (314) 751-8208
  Washington, DC 20001
  (202) 727-7190
Occupational Hlth. Bur.      Radiological Hlth. Prog.       Bureau of Rad. Control
Dept. of Hlth. & Env. Sci.   Dept. of Hlth.                 Dept. of Hlth.
Cogswell Bldg.               264 N. High St.                1100 W. 49th St.
Helena, MT 59620             P.O. Box 118                   Austin, TX 78756-3189
(406) 444-3671               Columbus, O H 43216            (512) 835-7000
Division of Rad. Hlth.       (614) 466-1380                 Bureau of Rad. Control
301 Centennial Mall, S .     Radiation and Special          State Dept. of Hlth.
P.O. Box 95007                    Hazards Service           Box 45500
Lincoln, NE 68509            P.O. Box 53551                 Salt Lake City. UT 84145
(402) 471-2168               Oklahoma City, OK 73152        (801) 533-6734
Radiological Hlth. Sect.     (405) 271-5221                 Division of Occup.
Health Div.                  Radiation Control Sect.             and Rad. Hlth.
505 E. King St.              State Hlth. Div.               Dept. of Hlth.
Carson City, NV 89710        P.O. Box 231                   10 Baldwin St.
(702) 885-5394               Portland, OR 97207             Montpelier, VT 05602
Radiological Hlth. Prog.     (503) 229-5797                 (802) 828-2886
P.O. Box 148                 Bureau of Rad. Protection      Bureau of Rad. Hlth.
Concord, NH 03301            Dept. of Env. Resources        Dept. of Hlth. Haz. Control
(603) 271-4588               P.O. Box 2063                  109 Governor St.
Radiation, Pesticides,       Harrisburg, PA 17120           Richmond, VA 23219
    and Env. Labs            (717) 787-2480                 (804) 786-5932
Div. of Env. Quality         Radiological Hlth. Div.        Department of Public Works
380 Scotch Rd.               GPO Call Box 70184             Div. of Natural Res.
Trenton, NJ 08628                          R
                             Rio Piedras, P 00936           P.O. Box 4340
(609) 292-8392               (809) 767-3563                 Charlotte Arnalie
Radiation Protection Bur.    Division of Occup. Hlth.       St. Thomas, VI 00801
Dept. of Hlth. & Env.             and Rad. Control          (809) 774-6420
P.O. Box 968                 Dept. of Hlth.                 Radiation Control Sec.
Santa Fe, N M 87504-0968     Cannon Bldg.. Davis St.        Dept. of Soc. & Hlth. Serv.
(505) 984-0020               Providence, RI 02908           MS LF-13
Bureau of Env. Rad. Prot.    (401) 277-2438                 Olympia. WA 98504
Empire State Plaza           Bureau of Rad. Hlth.           (206) 753-3468
Corning Tower                Dept. of Hlth.                 Radiological H lth. Sect.
Albany, NY 12237                 and Env. Control           Industrial Hyg. Div.
(518) 473-3613               2600 Bull St.                  151 1l t h Ave.
Bureau for Rad. Control                   C
                             Columbia, S 29201              S. Charleston, WV 25303
NY City Dept. of Hlth.       (803) 758-5548                 (304) 348-3526
65 Worth St.                 Licensure and Cert. Pmg.       Radiation Protect. Sect.
New York, NY 10013           State Dept. of Hlth.           Div. of Hlth.
(212) 334-7761               Joe Foss Ofc. Bldg.            P.O. Box 309
Radiation Protection Sect.   523 E. Capital                 Madison, WI 53701
Div. of Fac. Serv.           Pierre, SD 57501               (608) 273-5181
P.O. Box 12200               (605) 773-3364                 Radiological Hlth. Serv.
Raleigh, NC 27605-2200       Division of Rad. Hlth.         Div. of Hlth. & Med. Sew.
(919) 733-4283               Dept. of Public Hlth.          Hathaway Bldg.
Division of Env. Eng.        Terra Bldg.. 150 9th Ave. N.   Cheyenne, WY 82002-0710
Dept. of Hlth.               Nashville, TN 37203            (307) 777-7956
1200 Missouri Ave.           (615) 741-7812
Bismarck, N D 58501
(701) 224-2348

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