Earlier in 2019, there was a sudden onset of concern over light-emitting diode lights (LED lights) possibly causing eye and skin damage. This wave was the aftermath of a 400-page report published by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES). The ANSES’ report claimed that exposure to intense LED lights has a “photo-toxic” effect on the human body, leading to irreversible loss of retinal cells and blurry vision.
What are the LED Light Hazards?
ANSES is not the first authority to question the hazards of LED lighting. A 2017 study postulated whether blue-light blocked devices are enough to actually protect against high-energy visible lighting. Similarly, a 2012 Spanish study showed that LED radiation is harmful to the retina.
The takeaway from these studies is that there is a need to identify the exact wavelength at which blue light stops being beneficial and starts causing harm.
LED Lamps in our Daily Lives
LEDs have become the go-to replacement for CFL light sources, given the lack of mercury in them. Since they use a much smaller amount of energy, they are considered the ultimate green choice for lighting. From headlights to street lamps, to phones and the bulb in your room, LED light has penetrated our lives. So, it is not a matter of finding a replacement (yet, at least). It is a matter of converting the type of LED we use, in order to maintain the efficacy of the technology while minimizing damage.
A lot of companies, including Dr. Lite, are moving towards smart lighting solutions and LED lamps that do not cause the same degree of harm. According to ANSES’ report, LED sources that use “less white” light are better since the whiter the light, the more “harsh blue” it has.
Instead, warmer light cuts down on blue light exposure. It is for the same reason that “night mode” on devices turns the screen warmer (yellow/red shade), and that ANSES is advising authorities to take the same steps for streetlights, industrial lights, car lamps, etc. In fact, even blue-light protection glasses are more effective if yellow tinted.
Of course, the most natural solution is to reduce the amount of time spent under/in front of LED light sources. But that does not mean that steps cannot be taken to improve on existing technology that has become vital to today’s world.