When introduced LED’s became one of the fastest ways to save our planet while enjoying positive earnings through substantial energy savings. They eliminated mercury, arguably the most toxic substance known to man, provided a better quality of light, eliminated flickering and thus headaches, and made lighting and ballast maintenance a thought of the past.
As a massive uprising of new lighting suppliers and installers joined the LED Gold Rush no one stopped to think about how these upgrades impact our daily lives. Most of us have noticed the change in street lights switching from the legacy orange sodium lights to daylight blue LED fixtures. And for the most part, we have enjoyed the brighter, cleaner looking light that helps us see further and feel safer when we are out after dark. However, in Britain where LED conversions happened well over a decade ago new studies are raising concerns and awareness on how color temperature can severely negatively affect our health.
To be fair all types of lighting now come in this color temperature, not just LED’s.
According to a new study, Britain’s new generation of street lights risk dramatically increasing rates of breast and prostate cancer. An analysis of more than 4,000 people living in 11 separate regions of Spain established a link between heavy exposure to the LED lighting and a doubling of the risk of prostate cancer, as well as a 1.5-times higher chance of breast cancer.
Studies believe the blue light emitted by LEDs may be disrupting the body’s circadian rhythm and thus affecting hormone levels increasing hormone related cancers such as Breast and Prostate cancer. Exposure at night to blue-spectrum light decreases the production and secretion of melatonin, which plays a key role in regulating the day-night cycles, is a powerful anti-oxidant, and increases anti-inflammatory functions. Some research also suggests that Melatonin is what helps kill cancer causing free-radicals once you hit REM sleep, decreases the risk of Diabetes, Obesity, and Depression.
While there is an argument that the blue-spectrum light is beneficial to us during the day, especially at work environments, there is also a stronger argument showing we need to start looking at our home and make the change back to that old orange color we all grew up disliking. This is important not only for street lights near your house, but your at home electronics as well. You will notice that most devices from phones, tablets, and T.V.’s will have some sort of “night mode” which warms the screen color. This will help you fall asleep faster and have a better chance of hitting your much-needed REM.
*Still want the brighter white lights at your home? We have seen an emergence of CCT or “Color Tunable” LEDs flooding the market recently. These allow you to adjust to a bright daylight color and shift to the warm sunset temperature at night. They cost a little more, but offer perks like Google Home, Alexa integration and more control through your phone application.
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