Conventional Blue-Pump LED Lighting Exacerbates the Harmful Effects of Light at Night

Neither current conventional lighting systems, nor the newly emerging blue-pump LED luminaires prevent the adverse health, safety and productivity impact of light exposure at night.

Indeed, t
he reliance of the LED lighting revolution on cheap blue-pump LEDs may exacerbate the health, safety and productivity issues associated with nocturnal light exposure. All conventional white light sources (incandescent, halogen, fluorescent), when used at night show the harmful effects, but the effects are particularly exacerbated by the use of blue pump LEDs. The highly efficient and low cost conventional LED chips have a LED chip which delivers a blue light intensity spike which is highly suppressive of melatonin.  The amount of blue light emitted is substantially greater in these LEDs as compared to incandescent bulbs, fluorescent lights or CCFLs.

Growth of LEDs  Increased Health Risk

(Left) Conventional LEDs are far more energy efficient and will rapidly gain market share
(Right) As the blue-pump LED market share increases the relative nocturnal light exposure risk can be expected increase steeply.

The $5 billion US market and more than $50 billion global market for industrial and commercial lighting is in the middle of a major transition from incandescent and fluorescent lighting to LED lighting, driven by the significant improvement in energy efficiency (lumens per watt), the reduced lifetime cost of LED lighting (LCOL), and the opportunity to integrate smart lighting controls. By 2020 LED lighting is projected to achieve a 46% penetration of the market for industrial and commercial lamps. Philips projects 75% of commercial lighting will be LED- based by 2030. According to Philips, 51% of the total lighting energy consumption in the US is industrial and commercial. Government energy conservation policy and business economics will drive the replacement of current lighting by LED sources.

A similar trajectory is expected for the consumer and residential market. No longer is there a price barrier to LEDs evidenced from the recent arrival of $10 LED bulbs in retail stores.

The health issues relate to nocturnal light exposure may well worsen into an epidemic as the use of these conventional blue-pump LEDs with potent melatonin suppression and neuroendocrine disruptive properties sweeps through industrial and commercial and retail workplaces, and the even larger consumer household marketplace.

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