Artificial light and light sensitivity
Following contact with LightAware, the Labour MEPs Dame Glenis Willmott, Julie Ward, Catherine Stihler, and Theresa Griffin submitted a written question to the European Commission. It asked if the Commission had carried out further research into the health effects of lighting in areas where there is a lack of data; for confirmation that the health effects of lighting had been taking into account before incandescent bulbs were phased out; for information on labelling; and to confirm what types of lighting would still be available in the European Union by 2020. Click here for link to question.
The Commission has now replied:
LightAware has responded to the MEPS with the following concerns and will be writing both to Commissioners and the SCHEER Committee.
- SCENIHR concluded that there is no evidence that blue light from artificial lighting constitutes a risk in practice. In fact, there is increasing concern over the health and environmental effects of blue light, for example the recent report from the Americal Medical Association, which has led to changes in street lighting practice in the US. The experience of light sensitive people is that this type of lighting is causing pain, discomfort and social exclusion. LightAware would like to ask if SCENIHR thoroughly researched all conditions affected by lighting. In addition to light-sensitive skin conditions, people with headache conditions, migraine, autism – and in fact no previous health conditions – have found themselves with distressing symptoms when exposed to fluorescent and LED lighting.
- “All light sensitive patients can choose light sources suitable to prevent an aggravation of symptoms.”
Some light sensitive people need incandescent light to be healthy. The EU has banned incandescent lighting and has compounded the problem by banning ‘rough service’ and decorative incandescent and non-directional halogen lighting.
- The SCHEER is currently looking at potential risk to human health of LEDs. LightAware welcomes this research and would like to input to it. However, we would question why this research is only happening now when almost all other types of lighting are already subject to a progressive ban. Furthermore, this research indicates that there are concerns about blue light.
- The Commission cannot confirm at the current stage what forms of lighting will be available by 2020. This is shocking, and very distressing for light sensitive people who cannot plan their lives. It also contradicts the quote in point 2.
- LightAware would like to ask whether under commission regulation 1194/2012 and 244/2009, people who need incandescent lighting for health reasons can purchase these lights.