Does lighting pollution poses risk?

September 11, 2012

A panel of world experts discussed "Light Pollution and its Ecophysiological Consequences" and shed light on the extent of the dangers and harm that night-time artificial lighting causes, emphasizing that it is the short wavelength illumination that we have come to know as "eco-friendly illumination" that is causing the most harm (primarily LED lighting).

"The most important thing for us is to raise awareness of the dangers of artificial light at night and we have already come a long way now that the American Medical Association (AMA) recently announced its new policy recognizing of exposure to light at night and encouraging further research into the matter," said Prof. Abraham Haim, a leading authority on , who coordinated the 21st International Congress of Zoology (ICZ) that was held last week at the University of Haifa, Israel.

The participants were in full agreement that exposure to light at night affects in nature – humans, animals and plants - which when thrown off can result in various illnesses and adverse symptoms. Prof. Haim presented one of his studies showing the adverse effects of exposure to light at night – particularly short wavelength blue LED - in the blind and in seeing rats, both of which showed varying levels of damage to their metabolic rates, hormone production, body mass, and following exposure to LAN, as well as suppressed levels of melatonin production, which is responsible for tumor growth. "We expect to find similar results of damage from human exposure to LED lighting," Prof. Abraham concluded, and pointed out that "Western youngsters are typically surrounded by this sort of lighting in the confines of their own bedroom: from the smartphone, computer screen, and television."

"Street lights in populated areas are responsible for 60 percent of LAN pollution, which is intensified under cloudy conditions when the light is reflected back down to the ground," said Dr. Franz Hölker of the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Germany, who chaired the panel with Noam Leader of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Others pointed out the excessive levels of light pollution found in industrial areas, greatly endangering surrounding wildlife.

Explore further: Artificial Light at Night: Higher Risk of Prostate Cancer

Related Stories

'White' light suppresses the body's production of melatonin

September 12, 2011

Exposure to the light of white LED bulbs, it turns out, suppresses melatonin 5 times more than exposure to the light of High Pressure Sodium bulbs that give off an orange-yellow light. "Just as there are regulations and standards ...

AMA: Health implications of light at night 'serious'

June 21, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- The American Medical Association is acknowledging the growing evidence of health problems associated with exposure to artificial light, and is taking action that could lead to more government funding of ...

Red is the new Black

August 2, 2012

(Phys.org) -- The colour of night-time skyglow may be about to undergo a radical change worldwide, according to scientists of the Freie Universität Berlin and the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries. ...

Recommended for you

Atlas of the RNA universe takes shape

December 7, 2016

As the floor plan of the living world, DNA guides the composition of animals ranging from unicellular organisms to humans. DNA not only helps shepherd every organism from birth through death, it also plays an essential role ...

Gene "bookmarking" regulates the fate of stem cells

December 7, 2016

A protein that stays attached on chromosomes during cell division plays a critical role in determining the type of cell that stem cells can become. The discovery, made by EPFL scientists, has significant implications for ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.