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LED lights hurt the eyes and disturb sleep, warns European health authority

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The blue light in LED lighting used increasingly in our homes can damage the retina of the eye while disturbing our biological and sleep rhythms, warned a French health authority in a new report.

New scientific evidence confirms the “phototoxic effects” of short-term exposure to high-intensity blue light. As well as an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration after chronic exposure to lower intensity sources. According to the French Agency of Food, Safety and Environmental and Occupational Health, known as ANSES.

Age-related macular degeneration, one of the main causes of vision loss among people over 50, causes damage to the macula. A small spot near the center of the retina that is needed for acute central vision.

However, the protection against the damaging effects on the retina offered by “blue light” screens, filters and sunglasses varies, and its ability to preserve sleep rhythms is not proven, ANSES said.

The LEDs or light-emitting diodes consist of a semiconductor chip placed on a reflecting surface; When electricity passes through the semiconductor, light is produced.

The blue light itself is not new. Sunlight produces blue rays that have higher energy than other wavelengths in the light spectrum. And outdated bulbs produced some blue light, though less than what low-energy bulbs or fluorescent lights emit.

In the United States, LED products have experienced greater adoption, a positive development in terms of energy consumption because they use significantly less electricity. Per lumen than many traditional lighting technologies, according to the US Department of Energy. UU

The market penetration of LED lighting is increasing and will represent 48% of total lumen-hour sales by 2020 and 84% by 2030, the agency estimates.

ANSES differentiates the types of blue light in its report. For example, domestic “warm white” LED lighting has weak phototoxicity risks, similar to traditional lighting, according to ANSES.

However, other sources of LED lighting, including newer headlights, car headlights and some toys, produce a whiter and “cooler” blue light that is more damaging.

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