LightAware is a Charity which raises awareness of the effects of artificial lighting on human health and wellbeing.
We welcome the publication of the SCHEER Report into the potential risks to human health of LEDs and the acknowledgement that the young and the elderly must be considered ‘vulnerable and susceptible populations’ with regard to the blue light emitted by LED. We also welcome the review of the available research on photosensitive conditions affecting eyes and skin and the acknowledgement that ‘headache, migraine and general malaise’ can be triggered by the flicker of LEDs.
What emerges strongly in the report however, is that there are considerable gaps in knowledge regarding the effects of LEDs on human health in the short term, and that the long term effects are unknown.
LightAware considers that the report’s conclusion that there is ‘no evidence of direct adverse health effects from LEDs emission in normal use by the general healthy population’ does not mean that LEDs are safe for general use. This is because:
This technology is new and, as the report acknowledges, not enough research has yet been done.
To come to this conclusion the report has excluded over a third of the population from its definition of the ‘general healthy population.’ This includes the young, the elderly and people with health conditions about which groups there is evidence of adverse health effects from LED.
LightAware is contacted by people across the European Union who are experiencing distressing adverse reactions to LED. They suffer from conditions like lupus, autism, seborrheic eczema, eye damage, ME, electrosensitivity and migraine. it also includes those who experience debilitating symptoms from a variety of current light sources in isolation from any specific disease which is linked to light sensitivity.
LightAware calls for a second SCHEER report to investigate the effects of LED on those groups excluded from SCHEER’s definition of the ‘healthy general public’, with a specific focus on the adverse effects of light on light sensitive individuals. In this instance it is not sufficient to simply review already published material. The second report should identify gaps in the current research into the issue of LED and health, and actively ensure that appropriate research is commissioned.
Well known medical experts who are currently investigating the impact of LED on humans should be invited to contribute new knowledge. These should include: ophthalmologists, dermatologists, neurologists, neuroscientists, chronobiologists, toxicologists and cancer researchers. This second report should be completed before the Single Lighting Regulation becomes law. This Regulation aims to phase out almost all lighting except LED, leaving those who are strongly adversely affected excluded from indoor and outdoor lit spaces.
It is LightAware’s opinion that only this second report would enable SCHEER’s recommendations to be used in the making of public policy on lighting.