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Sunday Poll: Are You Concerned About Possible Health Risks Associated With Some LED Street Lights?

October 2, 2016 Featured, Sunday Poll 11 Comments
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I’ve posted about LED street lights before, but have never asked a poll question about them.

Some cities say the health concerns are not convincing enough to override the benefits of the first-generation bright LED lights that they installed in the past three to eight years. New York is one of them, although it has responded to resident complaints by replacing the high-intensity, white LED bulbs with a lower-
intensity bulb that the AMA considers safe. 

Scott Thomsen, a spokesman for Seattle City Lights, which is responsible for the city’s exterior illumination, dismissed the health concerns about bright-white LED lights, noting that they emit less of the problematic blue wavelengths than most computers and televisions. (Washington Post)

So here’s today’s poll:

The poll is open for 12 hours, until 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "11 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    I was unaware of the concerns, so I read the article, and after doing so, I’m in the unconcerned camp. The issues raised have more to do with streetlights, in general, than LED’s, specifically. Urban areas have way too much ambient lighting, and streetlights are just one component – parking lots, ballfields, electronic billboards and residential and commercial security lighting all are major contributors, as well. And when it comes to teenagers, blue lights and sleep deprivation, computers and smart phones have a far, far bigger impact than the streetlight outside their bedroom window. Finally, when it comes to sleep, it’s incumbent upon each individual to invest in whatever window coverings they need to block lights shining into their bedroom, especially when the light was there, in any form, before they were!

  2. Mark-AL says:

    There are two “very concerned” choices. No “very unconcerned”

  3. Justin says:

    I wouldn’t be concerned about any health risks. I do however, much prefer the sodium vapor lights because they are much softer and are less harsh than LED. I suppose the LED ones will likely save money which is good.

  4. Mark-AL says:

    I happened to listen in on a LED vs HPS pole-mounted fixture debate a few weeks ago at a design-progress meeting on one of our projects that I was visiting. It was acknowledged that LED lamp performance (foot candles per unit of energy) exceeds that of HPS lamps . But it was acknowledged also that LED lighting fixtures typically save only a modest amount of energy (approx. 10%) over HPS lighting fixtures. LED lighting tends not to have the light-spread capability of HPS lighting, and therefore it is necessary to decrease spacing between light poles and increase fixture counts when LED fixtures are selected. The costs associated with the additional poles, the additional conduit and wiring, and the additional fixtures and globes devastated the life-cycle cost advantages of LED over HPS. The lighting consultants involved in discussion said nothing about “safety” of LED vs HPS. Perhaps next time this is discussed in a forthcoming meeting, the architect will hire a “safety engineer” to give us his $.02 worth about the safety of LED vs HPS.

    • JZ71 says:

      Light-spread capability is a mixed bag. Most zoning ordinances include restrictions / prohibitions on “light trespass” (having light spill over the property line onto adjacent properties). A sharp(er) cut-off allows the lighting designer to better comply with these restrictions. And, finally, the other part of the life-cycle equation is lamp life – it costs money to replace bulbs, and with LED’s lasting 5 times longer, that cost saving is not insignificant: https://blog.lsgc.com/street-lighting-comparison-led-vs-hps/

      • Mark-AL says:

        The project I was referring to is a new headquarters for an auto manufacturer. The lighting is for their parking lots, which are located several hundred feet from any neighboring businesses or residences, so light drift wasn’t mentioned as an issue. The LED vs HPS lamp life issue was discussed, and since the owner employs their own maintenance crews and owns the lifts necessary to reach the fixtures, they were not so concerned about the frequency of lamp replacements. They objected to the lot congestion resulting from the additional poles required for LED fixtures and the loss of parking layout efficiency. The lighting consultants suggest that the HPS fixtures will provide maximum foot candles with fewer poles required, and since employees frequently work after hours and require a secure parking area and lots of light with few hot spots, the decision makers will probably give the green light to the HPS fixtures, a decision which of course could change tomorrow when/if a new vice president arrives on scene to reverse another VP’s decisions to date. It was noted that pole bases, poles, fixtures and conduit and wiring come with a high price tag, and that less frequent lamp replacements would probably not offset the costs associated with the additional poles, within the anticipated life expectancy of the lighting system.The only dog our firm has in this hunt is to design a pole base that will safely support whatever height pole they decide on…


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