Do 'environmentally friendly' LED lights cause BLINDNESS?

15. května 2013 v 9:17 |  solar power systems
A study has discovered that exposure to LED lights can cause irreparable harm to the retina of the human eye.

LED lights have been touted as a super-efficient alternative to traditional bulbs because they use up to 85 per cent less energy and each bulb can last up to 10 years.

In April, Philips, the world's biggest lighting maker, reported a 38 per cent jump in LED light sales from last year.

They are already widely used in mobile phones, televisions, computer screens and can also be fitted as a replacement for traditional lighting in the home.

LEDs are much more expensive that traditional bulbs - costing around 25 for an equivalent 100w compared to around 1 for an incandescent bulb - although manufacturers claim that consumers make their money back because the use such little energy.

The government announced it was phasing out incandescent bulbs in 2007 after an EU directive banned their use. The 100w bulb was the first to go in 2009 and lower wattage bulbs continue to be phased out gradually.

The ban caused public outrage as customers were forced to spend large sums of money on lighting that not only gave an unpleasantly 'cold' light but also caused some people to report symptoms of itchy skin and headaches.

The government's Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme, which was brought in to help cut UK carbon emissions, is also pushing the use of LED lighting by offering businesses added tax relief if they use LED and other low-energy bulbs.

Dr. Celia Sanchez-Ramos, of Complutense University in Madrid and who led the study, explained that light from LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, comes from the short-wave, high-energy blue and violet end of the visible light spectrum.

'Eyes are not designed to look directly at light - they are designed to see with light,' Sanchez-Ramos said.

Her comments are partly based on her 2012 study that was published in the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology.

The study found that LED radiation caused significant damage to human retinal pigment epithelial cells in vitro.

Sanchez-Ramos added that modern humans have their eyes open for roughly 6,000 hours a year, and are exposed to artificial light for the majority of that time.

Some experts have called for the LED lights to have built-in filters to cut out the blue glare.

This is not the first time energy-saving lights have come under scrutiny for safety reasons. Compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, have been criticized for the high levels of mercury they contain as well as the UV radiation they can emit.

LED lights have also been blamed for the changing hues of masterpieces in art galleries.

A study carried out by the University of Antwerp earlier this year found that LED lights were bleaching the paint on works by Van Gogh and Cezanne.

Judging by the only available photo, they look pretty cool, but until we see them fitted on a car, we can't really be certain of anything. Since they are installed in the fog light housings (replacing them) it will be interesting to see how they cope with actual fog.

The LED light is not very useful on times of great dampening and we're not really sure if the new part comes with integrated yellow bulbs that are helpful on adverse weather conditions.

For the moment we're not sure if these new lights will disable the fog lights permanently. According to a forum member, his BMW contact says that you will lose the fog light effect since the LED device is brighter. That means that there is a yellow bulb inside the projector but it will be useless once the corona lights are on.

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