ANSES is the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. In 2010 it released a report entitled ‘Lighting systems using light-emitting diodes (LEDs): health issues to be considered’. The report raises concerns about the effect of blue light used in LED on children’s eyes:
Today, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) is publishing its expert appraisal on the health issues surrounding lighting systems using LEDs; such a study has never been carried out before. Because of their low electricity consumption and high efficiency, lighting systems using LEDs are at the forefront of technology in terms of energy performance and are well-fitted to play a role in energy-saving policy. The market for these systems is growing rapidly. However, risks have been identified concerning the use of certain LED lamps, raising potential health concerns for the general population and professionals.
The principal characteristic of diodes sold for lighting purposes is the high proportion of blue in the white light emitted and their very high luminance (“brightness”). The issues of most concern identified by the Agency concern the eye due to the toxic effect of blue light and the risk of glare.
The blue light necessary to obtain white LEDs causes toxic stress to the retina. Children are particularly sensitive to this risk, as their crystalline lens is still developing and is unable to filter the light efficiently.
These new lighting systems can produce “intensities of light” up to 1000 times higher than traditional lighting systems, thus creating a risk of glare. The strongly directed light they produce, as well as the quality of the light emitted, can also cause visual discomfort.