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What are LED lights?
LED lights have taken the market by storm. They are becoming increasingly popular, and have become the go-to choice.
LED light technology is used in a range of products including everyday items such as cell phones, television screens, and computer screens. And of course, chances are, all or most of the light bulbs in your home are LED. LED lights are known for being extremely energy-efficient, long-lasting, and for providing high quality lighting.
No doubt, this is all amazing! However, is there a dark side?
Why are LED lights harmful?
There are scientific studies and papers out there that point to potential risks to human health from LED lights:
The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety indicated that LEDs are unique in that they emit light that is rich in short wavelengths, which is known as blue-rich light. LEDs can be richer in blue light than other artificial light sources. The report indicated that scientific data confirmed the toxicity of blue light to the eyes, which can lead to failing eyesight. The report also indicated that exposure to blue light during the evening and night, disrupted sleep by disturbing the body’s circadian rhythm (1).
The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety report also indicated that current lighting systems, including LEDs, could be impacting biodiversity of plant and animals (1) .
This study indicated potential environmental impacts, including toxicity, of LEDs. The study mentioned that according to California regulations, excessive levels of copper, lead, nickel, or silver render all LEDs hazardous, except low-intensity yellow LEDs.
This study indicated the potential influence of LED lighting on mental illness. It indicated that blue light may suppress melatonin, increase alertness, and interfere with sleep.
What can I do?
1) Reduce exposure to blue light
Limit exposure to the blue-rich light of LED screens (mobile phones, tablets, computers, etc.) before bedtime and at night (1).
2) Buy warm white LED lighting
As indicated previously, theFrench Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety indicated the importance of favouring “warm white” domestic lighting (colour temperature below 3000 K), as they emit less blue light (1).
Check out: Wonderful Light 3000 K Warm White
3) Stay old school with incandescent/halogen lightbulbs
While these lights also have pros and cons and emit some blue-light, the amount of blue light emitted is still far less than LEDs.
Check out: Bulbrite Eco-Friendly Halogen Bulb
4) What about blue-light screen filters?
Did you know that many laptops and cell phones have options in their settings where you can filter out blue light? Check out your device and consider using this setting. There is some evidence that these might be effective. TheFrench Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety indicated that effectiveness of devices to protect against phototoxicity of blue light varies greatly, and that no effectiveness has been demonstrated against long-term exposure. However, it was also indicated that switching to warm white and reducing the brightness of screens, was somewhat effective (2).
5) What about blue-light blocking glasses?
Regarding blue-light filtering glasses, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety report indicated that such glasses are more effective than treated ophthalmic lenses at filtering blue light, however, neither was effective enough to be considered personal protective equipment (2).
Check out: TIJN Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Perhaps the best way to tell for now is to judge for yourself. See if you find blue-light filtering screens and glasses helpful, such as in reducing fatigue, reducing eye strain, improving your sleep, and making you feel better overall.
Sometimes the choice isn’t easy or so clear cut.
Yes, LED lights are very energy-efficient – a definite pro.
However, is the efficiency worth it in this case? As supported by research, the high levels of blue light from LEDs can have negative consequences on our health, and possibly the environment.
Our health is paramount, and that goes hand-in-hand with living in a home that supports our health, well-being, and safety. We as consumers have the right to make informed decisions, that are best for us.
Hope this was illuminating.
Live Well Settled.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, at no cost to you. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we make a small commission. Read our full disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Additional informationAcknowledgementsNone.Statement of interestNone to declare. (n.d.). The potential influence of LED lighting on mental illness. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15622975.2017.1417639
(2) Effects of systems using LEDs on human health and the environment – ANSES 2019 expert assessment: Anses – Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail. (1970, May 19). Retrieved from https://www.anses.fr/en/content/effects-systems-using-leds-human-health-and-environment-anses-2019-expert-assessment
Lim, S.-R., Kang, D., Ogunseitan, O. A., & Schoenung, J. M. (2011, January 1). Potential environmental impacts of light-emitting diodes (LEDs): metallic resources, toxicity, and hazardous waste classification. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21138290
(1) OPINION of the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety on “the use of insects as food and feed and the review of scientific knowledge on the health risks related to the consumption of insects”: Anses – Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail. (1970, February 12). Retrieved from https://www.anses.fr/en/content/opinion-french-agency-food-environmental-and-occupational-health-safety-use-insects-food-and
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