Do we have to worry about LEDs ?

Do we have to worry about LEDs ?

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Less energy-consuming, are low-energy light bulbs and especially LEDs, necessarily environment-friendly and healthy ? Some doctors are warning us.

 
 
 
LED Blue light children eyes

Children’s eyes, whose lens is trans­pa­rent, are the most sen­si­tive to the blue light of Leds. But this doesn’t mean that all Leds are that dan­ge­rous… © Patricia Cerinsek/Place Gre’net

Halogen bulbs pro­duce ultra­vio­lets and low energy lamps contain elec­tro­ma­gne­tic waves.
They are all poten­tially harm­ful to our health and the envi­ron­ment. People tend to think that Leds are a good alter­na­tive, but not necessarily…
 
 
Bulbs with light-emit­ting diodes pro­duce, within the white light, an impor­tant pro­por­tion of very inten­sive blue that could be harm­ful to the eyes. It is a blue light bet­ween ultra­vio­let and the visible ; the shor­test visible wave, bet­ween 380 and 500 nano­me­ters, and the highest energy consumption.
 
 
A pho­to­che­mi­cal effect
 
 
It is a dis­tur­bing blue”, under­lines doc­tor Sylvie Berthemy-Pellet, oph­tal­mo­lo­gist in Grenoble, invi­ted last Monday 2nd of December by the Frapna Isère to shed light on the sub­ject. In fact, these waves emit some heat, which can reach the retina and cause burns of the pig­men­tary epi­the­lium by pene­tra­ting the cornea.
 
 
These waves have also a pho­to­che­mi­cal effect with a risk of mem­brane rup­tures, and could even lead to deve­lo­ping can­cers and aggra­va­ted risks of age-rela­ted macu­lar dege­ne­ra­tion (AMD).
 
This blue light can cause irre­ver­sible inju­ries, espe­cially with chil­dren and people suf­fe­ring from ocu­lar diseases, as well as pro­fes­sio­nals expo­sed to this type of lighting.
 
 
A new health risk ?
 
 
In 2010 already, a report relea­sed by the ANSES was cal­ling for cau­tion. Four years later, the offi­cial speech hasn’t really changed.
 
Doctor Sylvie Berthemy-Pellet ophtalmologist in Grenoble.

Doctor Sylvie Berthemy-Pellet, oph­tal­mo­lo­gist in Grenoble. © Patricia Cerinsek/Place Gre’net

In the mean­time, an increa­sing num­ber of stu­dies all come to the same conclu­sions. During the French Society of Ophthalmology congress that took place in April 2012, Professor Francine Behar Cohen dared to speak about « new health risks ari­sing from these ligh­ting sources ».
 
Today, while incan­des­cent light bulbs are slowly with­drawn from the mar­ket to leave room for less energy-consu­ming pro­ducts, what choice should we make ?
 
The majo­rity of Led bulbs present few risks for the public at a dis­tance of 20 cen­ti­me­ters”, car­ries on doc­tor Berthemy-Pellet. Yet, should we exclude Leds from bed­side tables and desks as we did with low-energy lamps ?
 
We can par­tially try to avoid the pro­blem, by choo­sing warm Leds that contain less blue light and by remo­ving direct lightings.
For the time being, there is no men­tion of the wave length emit­ted on the energy label of the bulbs. The only dis­played data are : the energy effi­ciency, the light effi­ciency, the power and the lifetime.
 
How can the consu­mer find his way through this infor­ma­tion ? “The best thing to do is to mix all kinds of ligh­tings”, recom­mends doc­tor Berthemy-Pellet. Until things get clearer…
 
 
Patricia Cerinsek
 
 
 
Which bulbs should be used ?
Today, four types of Leds are avai­lable : the blue Leds (poten­tially more toxic for the retina), the cold white (whose risk depends on the lumi­nance), the neu­tral white (contai­ning few risks) and the warm white (without any reco­gni­zed ocu­lar risks).
The tele­vi­sions and com­pu­ters using Leds, as indi­rect ligh­tings with low lumi­nes­cence tubes, are safe.
 
 
Translation by Sandra Bailly, Translator / Desktop Publishing specialist
Phone : +33 (0)6 95 87 15 27 – email : sandra.bailly79 [at] gmail​.com 
 
 
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