numbers don't add up, 5-25 mW over a 6 foot radius is too weak to have impact
But most of what the FAA is complaining about is incidents with hand held laser pointers.
So these are cheap devices and the light diffuses over distances of a thousand feet, instead of staying coherent like it would with an expensive laser. The article quotes 6 foot radius.
Spread that 5-25 mW over the 6 foot radius and it seems to me laughable it could cause eye damage.
I calculate 6000 nW per square inch (6 µW). Hardly a flash bulb.
25mW / (3.14 * (6ft *12in/ft/ 2)^2) = 6.14 *10^-6.
(I'm a little rusty, would someone please double check that?)
If they were complaining about industrial and medical lasers, if they had statistics for just those, they might have a strong point. But they don't. They didn't bother to collect the numbers.
I cannot help wondering if maybe what they think are handheld lasers are in fact something more powerful or higher quality.
For handheld lasers, I think the bigger hazard would be to truck and car drivers, where the distances are short and the light would still be concentrated and high intensity.
All that said, people shouldn't be messing around with these things.