Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The American Medical Association issued on June 14, 2016 a warning for LED street lighting. The doctors, in order to protect human health, recommended that LED street lighting should be 3000K, in other words they recommended to "warm it and dim it" when it comes to street LED lights. They also warned that cool LED lights above 3000K are harmful to people in two ways: #1 burning the retina and #2 suppressing melatonin and sleep disruption. See for yourself the link below

For me, it was a sigh of relief to see that medical professionals, always humanitarian, have taken the lead in lighting to protect public health from the potential harmful effects of LED lighting. You would think that the American Medical Association AMA lighting warning, would be received warmly by the Lighting Industry. Instead, Lighting Manufacturers with stock of bluish LED street lights and the Illuminating Engineering Society IES took offense, and even the Department of Energy DOE was reluctant to admit that this warning is timely. The message from the lighting industry to the AMA was to "back-off" and that doctors are not lighting experts, never-mind that doctors care about the health of people. With this rebuke of the doctors, misguided City Planners and local governments will continue to replace street lights with intensely bright and cool bluish LED lights, that are unhealthy and impact negatively our communities.

The AMA warning about LED street lighting is a good start, and it didn't go far enough to encompass the health issue with multi-fringed overlapping blurry shadows, produced by the many LED chips in street lights, pulsating separate light beams and projecting multiple shadows from a single leaf. Under the trees on our streets, we encounter a cognitive mess, a lack of correlation between the physical object (a leaf) and its shadow(s),  a forced disassociation from reality.

You may think of shadows and light as the yin and yen, as the two sides of the same coin, and while it's almost impossible to define light quality by looking at the bright high intensity pole lights, one can look at the shadows and find this information. This is why the three rules in lighting are "mock-up" "mock-up" and "mock-up". Before installing LED lights, first turn them on, then aim LED light to a wall about 2-3 feet away, then insert your hand in between the light and the wall, and look at the shadows on the wall. If you see sharp black shadows and more than five fingers, don't buy this LED fixture.

Light and health for you,