LIGHTING RESEARCH CENTER ISSUES RESPONSE TO AMA REPORT ON LED LIGHTING BY MARK REA AND MARIANA FIGUEIRO OF THE LRC - Energy Watch News


LIGHTING RESEARCH CENTER ISSUES RESPONSE TO AMA REPORT ON LED LIGHTING BY MARK REA AND MARIANA FIGUEIRO OF THE LRC

Recently the American Medical Association (AMA) has produced a document cautioning the public about In-Ga-N based LEDs used as sources of illumination. The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has received a large number of requests for an opinion and has prepared a response, available at http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/resources/newsroom/AMA.pdf
Key points include:
• Predictions of health consequences from light exposure depend upon an accurate characterization of the physical stimulus as well as the biological response to that stimulus. Without fully defining both the stimulus and the response, nothing meaningful can be stated about the health effects of any light source.
• Notwithstanding certain sub-populations that deserve special attention, blue light hazard from In-Ga-N LEDs is probably not a concern to the majority of the population in most lighting applications due to human’s natural photophobic response.
• Both disability glare and discomfort glare are mostly determined by the amount and distribution of light entering the eye, not its spectral content.
• In-Ga-N LED sources dominated by short wavelengths have greater potential for suppressing the hormone melatonin at night than sodium-based sources commonly used outdoors. However, the amount and the duration of exposure need to be specified before it can be stated that In-Ga-N LED sources affect melatonin suppression at night.
• Until more is known about the effects of long-wavelength light exposure (amount, spectrum, duration) on circadian disruption, it is inappropriate to single out short-wavelength radiation from In-Ga-N LED sources as a causative factor in modern maladies.
• Correlated color temperature (CCT) is not appropriate for characterizing the potential impacts of a light source on human health because the CCT metric is independent of nearly all of the important factors associated with light exposure, namely, its amount, duration, and timing.

The LRC’s response attempts to draw attention to the problem of misapplying short-hand metrics to the topic of light and health and also provides the reader with a wealth of references that should inform rational discourse.

We welcome your comments and opinions…NEMA & IES are also investigating AMA claims.

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3 comments on “LIGHTING RESEARCH CENTER ISSUES RESPONSE TO AMA REPORT ON LED LIGHTING BY MARK REA AND MARIANA FIGUEIRO OF THE LRC

  1. Dawn De Grazio says:

    Thank you for this reasoned and clear response!

  2. Robert Nadel says:

    Well deserved for what might seem like a shot from the hip from the AMA

  3. BillAttardi says:

    Interesting – the partially informed defenses of the political underwriting of the use alternate light sources to the incandescent lamp have begun to emerge (LEDs and CFLs). This will be a similar charade to the early back and forth with the tobacco companies over the pointing to the link between tobacco and cancer. Interesting that the reports from many European countries are not referenced.

    Howard M. Brandston,

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