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Excessive blue light emitted by LED can adversely impact human health: AMA

Jun 28, 2016 12:17 IST

LEDA report released by the American Medical Association (AMA) Council on Science and Public Health on 14 June 2016 claims that excessive blue light emitted by light emitting diodes (LED) can adversely impact human health. AMA report looked at the LED street lighting on US roadways.

It also adopted guidance for communities on selecting among LED lighting options to minimize potential harmful human and environmental effects.

Effects of LED light

• A large amount of blue light emitted by the high-intensity LED lighting appears white to the naked eye but it can create worse nighttime glare than conventional lighting.

• Discomfort and disability from intense, blue-rich LED lighting can decrease visual acuity and safety, resulting in concerns and creating a road hazard.

• Blue-rich LED streetlights that operates at a wavelength adversely suppresses melatonin during night, thus it directly have an impact on drivers.

• It is estimated that white LED lamps have five times greater impact on circadian sleep rhythms than conventional street lamps.

• The detrimental effects of high-intensity LED lighting are not limited to humans. Excessive outdoor lighting disrupts many species that need a dark environment. For instance, poorly designed LED lighting disorients some bird, insect, turtle and fish species.

The findings are similar to the findings of some surveys of recent past. These findings suggest that brighter residential nighttime lighting are associated with reduced sleep times, dissatisfaction with sleep quality, excessive sleepiness, impaired daytime functioning and obesity.

Community Guidelines

• It asks communities to minimize and control blue-rich environmental lighting by using the lowest emission of blue light possible to reduce glare.

• It asks for an intensity threshold for optimal LED lighting that minimizes blue-rich light.

• It also says that all LED lighting should be properly shielded to minimize glare and detrimental human health and environmental effects.

• Consideration should be given to utilize the ability of LED lighting to be dimmed for off-peak time periods.

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