Domestic lighting, floor lamps, car headlights, mobile phone screens … the blue light emitted by LEDs is everywhere. Cheap, energy-efficient, long-lasting, this lighting has become widespread over the last few decades thanks to the market's withdrawal from conventional incandescent and halogen bulbs.
But beware, some types of LEDs, rich in "Blue light", represent a danger to health, says the latest opinion of the National Agency for Food Safety, Environment and Labor (ANSES), which had already highlighted the risks to the retina of artificial lighting in an opinion in 2010.
– Anses (@Anses_fr) May 14, 2019
What are the health hazards?
"Exposure to intense and acute light from LEDs is phototoxic because it causes irreversible loss of retinal cells that can lead to decreased visual acuity", says the organization responsible for health risk assessment. The latest studies also show Long-term effects from chronic exposure, which increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). "
The report of ANSES "Highlighting that even a very small exposure to light rich in blue at night or night disrupts biological rhythms and therefore sleep". This risk concerns lighting but also backlit screens such as computers. In this respect, children and adolescents, "Whose eyes do not fully filter blue light" because their crystalline lens is still developing, "Constitutes a particularly sensitive population".
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Finally, many LED lamps present "Significant variations in light intensity" in response to fluctuations in the feed stream, which may induce "Headache, visual fatigue, accidental risk …" in some people, says ANSES.
Unlike domestic lighting, flashlights, car headlights or toys incorporating LEDs are not covered by current regulations. In concrete terms, if you buy a light bulb, an indication refers to the risk group to which it belongs ("0", without risk or "1", low risk). But no such indication appears on other objects.
What precautions to take?
To protect yourself from this blue light, it is advisable to opt for bulbs of warm hues, which turn to yellow rather than white or blue (color temperature below 3000 K). In order to prevent the effects of disruption of biological rhythms, ANSES also recommends limiting the use of mobile phones, tablets or computers before bedtime and at night, especially for children.
On the other hand, it considers that items sold to the general public should contain only the least dangerous categories of LEDs, as is already the case for light bulbs, and that "Limit the light intensity of motor vehicle headlights". ANSES also requests that the maximum permissible exposure limits be revised, "Not protective enough"even if they are rarely reached under normal conditions of use.
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Finally, the Health Agency warns against the highly variable efficiency of filters incorporated in computer screens and glasses tinted glasses "Anti-blue light".
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