September 26, 2016

Is LED dead?

Planetizen - Cities all over the country are adding LED lights to streets and roadways all over the country, seeking energy efficiency and reduced maintenance requirements. A new report, however, raises alarms about the health impacts of the lights. Michael Ollove reports:
The American Medical Association issued a warning in June that high-intensity LED streetlights — such as those in Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, Houston and elsewhere — emit unseen blue light that can disturb sleep rhythms and possibly increase the risk of serious health conditions, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.
According to Ollove, nearly 13 percent of roadway lighting now use LED lights, with many more plans planning to switch to the technology in the near future, so the AMA's report applies to a huge swath of the country.

And that's not the only concern. "The AMA also cautioned that those light-emitting-diode lights can impair nighttime driving vision," adds Ollove.

The good news is that the AMA does approve of lower-intensity version of the bulbs. New York City, for example, has switched to a lower-intensity version of LED lights in efforts to retrofit its streetlights.


Louis Massano said...

This information is important and I'd like to thank Sam Smith for it. However, as many readers of this comment probably already know, LED bulbs made for typical home applications - and home use as well - the ones with the traditional so-called "Edison base" - can be bought now from reliable suppliers like Philips, GE and Home Depot (I avoid Home Depot purchases because of the right-wing, "utopian capitalist" politics of its (possibly) proto-fascist founder Ken Langone) supply LED bulbs in varying color temperature (measured, as I understand)in Kelvins and light intensity.

Also, so-called "Smart Bulbs" can be adjusted in their color temperature, so that color temperature can be adjusted to mimic traditional soft-white to the higher Kelvin-measured temperatures that correspond to broad daylight.
Ikea has just announced that it will be releasing its own smart bulbs that have a dedicated remote control and don't require a so-called "smart phone' like an iPhone to control them. There's an article on the new IKEA smart bulb in today's (September 26, 2016) "Daily Mail" with the headline "IKEA to Sell Smart Bulbs That Can Be Controlled Wirelessly." I think its worth looking at.

I've been using LED "Soft White" (Sylvania-made) Edison base bulbs for over a year and I'm very convinced that they're better in both the light they give off to helical fluorescent bulbs, which have been around for a decade, and to traditional, energy wasting incandescent bulbs. More recently released LED use less wattage than helical fluorescent bulbs - though older or cheaper LEDs of this type are about the same in energy usage.

It is true however, that the cheaper and better artificial lighting sources become, the more light pollution problems will come along with them and must be resolved.

Anonymous said...

Light pollution can be remedied by proper shielding and thoughtful location of fixtures. It is possible to specifically direct light and not have it trespass beyond.
As the comment above suggests, addressing LED light temperature range will keep LED technology valid and useful for decades to come.