Ever since its invention back in 1962, LED light has been lauded for its cost-effective and energy-saving credentials. According to a report by the American Medical Association (AMA), however, light-emitting diodes might be exacerbating certain health problems that city dwellers commonly suffer from. The bright, bluish glow of these lights has been known to cause temporary, and sometimes even permanent, vision impairment, and is also one of the culprits disrupting our normal circadian rhythms.
In recent years, cities around the world have made a shift towards LED lighting, in an attempt to lower costs as well as electricity consumption. Keeping residents’ health in mind, researchers at AMA have come up with a detailed list of community guidelines pertaining to proper installation and maintenance of streetlights. As per one recommendation, the temperature of these bulbs should remain with the “warm white” spectrum of light, and should not exceed 3000 K.
The scientists also suggest installing dimmer city lights to prevent them from adversely affecting people’s health. The bluish light of LEDs actually belongs to the “cool color” spectrum (above 5000 K), which is associated with harsh glare that can result in momentary and even permanent vision loss due to retinal damage. Bluish white light, essentially the kind that electronic gadgets emit, can also cause circadian rhythm sleep disorders (CRSD), increased fatigue and even breast cancer in some rare cases.
What’s more, bright LED lighting can be detrimental to wildlife, altering their normal sleeping and feeding patterns. It can even disrupt migratory activities of birds, the researchers revealed. Maya A. Babu, a board member of the organization, said:
Despite the energy efficiency benefits, some LED lights are harmful when used as street lighting. The new AMA guidance encourages proper attention to optimal design and engineering features when converting to LED lighting that minimize detrimental health and environmental effects.