US cities use less-intense LED streetlights due to health concerns

- Nov 15, 2018-

LEDs have really revolutionized the concept of lighting across the world. A number of US cities such as Los Angeles, Houston, New York and Seattle have adopted LED street lighting and, now LED lighting accounts for 13% of outdoor lighting in the US.

However, American Medical Association (AMA) has raised health concerns relating to the usage of such high-intensity LED lights.High-intensity LEDs release unseen blue light that can disturb sleep pattern and impair night-time driving vision, warned AMA in June 2016. LEDs increase the risk of serious health conditions such as cancer and heart disease.

US cities taking health issues seriously

However, a number of residents from New York and Seattle are complaining about the harshness of the bright white LED streetlights. Prior to AMA’s warning, some researchers raised health concerns, noting that exposure to the blue-rich LED outside lights may reduce the secretion of the hormone melatonin in humans. The “dark sky” movement enthusiasts also blame LEDs as a major contributor of light pollution.

Following the warnings, the US medical body has urged local officials to use less-intense LED options. Some US cities such as Phoenix and Honolulu are taking the health issues seriously, and have considered using dimmer LEDs.

US cities use less-intense LED streetlights due to health concerns

Honolulu has dropped the idea of installing high-intensity LEDs, and is now opting for less-intense alternatives. Phoenixwill either go with a bright white LED model and or a softer hue. Lake Worth has decided to opt for lower-intensity LEDs with an amber glow.City officials in Davis, California, Gloucester, Massachuttes,and Sahuarita, Arizona, made the same choice.
Not all cities take health issues seriously

However, many cities are not still convinced about the health issues. They believe that such warnings are not enough to override the advantages of LEDs. Seattle has dismissed the health concerns relating to bright white LEDs. Instead, the officials said that LEDs emit less unhealthy blue light as compared to TVs and computers.

No sooner did LED streetlights hit the market, the US federal government encouraged states and municipalities to install them. The government believed that LEDs have a lot of potential and, can be beneficial for a number of applications like traffic lights and exit signs. However, this was a hurried move, according to critics.

On the other hand, LED supporters say that nowadays LEDs come with lower Kelvin ratings with the same energy-efficiency as those with higher ratings. They donotrelease as much potentially harmful blue light, and they create a softer, amber hue.