Just How Safe Are LED Lights? Here’s Everything You Need to Know…
Have you ever wondered; Is LED light safe?
Well, you are not alone.
When it comes to any new technology – in any field, safety is always a primary factor to consider.
And despite LEDs having been on the market for decades now, there are still those who question their safety.
If you are one of them, this post is for you.
In it, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about LED lights safety and answer some of the most common questions people ask these days.
- What effect do LED lights have on your eyes?
- Are there any health problems that arise from LED light usage?
- Should you be worried about fire hazards?
- What is Blue Light and should you be worried about it?
Well, that’s what this in-depth review of LED lights safety is all about; you’ll find answers to all these questions and more.
Is LED light Safe?
Read on to find out…
Chapter 1: Which Light Is Good for Your Health?
Light is more than just visual effects.
Well, it can also affect your health; both biologically and psychologically.
Light can improve or disrupt your sleep, mood, and reaction time just to mention a few.
And that’s why
To fully understand the health effects of LED lights, you must first understand how different kinds of light affect you.
- Green Light strengthens muscles and stimulates the production of growth hormones.
- Red Light helps to prepare your body for sleep.
- Blue Light keeps you alert and awake.
- Yellow Light helps to cure depression.
- Orange Light stimulates creativity.
- Purple Light reduces mental and emotional stress.
And the list is endless…
So, what do you learn from this?
- There are different psychological and biological effects of light on humans.
- You can use lighting for health and well-being improvement.
- You need to be careful when choosing your lighting fixtures to avoid suffering the effects of poor lighting.
If you use fixtures with a lot of blue light in your bedroom, you’ll have trouble trying to get some sleep.
If you use red light to illuminate a library, a lot of the reading will be done in people’s dreams (because most of them will doze off).
Anyway, back to our question; Which light is good for your health?
The best answer would be natural light aka sunlight.
Natural light is often beneficial in many ways, however, we only get around 12 hours of it in a day…
Which is the best light fixture to illuminate the four to five-night hours we spend without sunlight in a day?
Best answer; LEDs.
And I’ll tell you why, next.
Chapter 2: Is LED Lighting Bad for Your Health?
Due to its growing popularity, LED light technology has been under a microscope with a lot of people trying to determine whether or not there are any harmful effects of led lights.
Are there any?
Well, like most things, LED light isn’t perfect.
The biggest setback with LEDs is Blue Light Pollution. We’ll talk more about this later on in this post…
Blue light is often a strong contributor to eye health problems like age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and retinal changes in cases of high-exposure over a short period.
Before you brand LEDs as bad for your health, please note that it takes quite a lot of time and exposure to blue light for your health to be affected.
If you compare this setback to all health hazards that come with other lighting technologies, you’ll realize that LEDs are probably the safest sources of light after sunlight.
- Halogen bulbs often contain heavy metals that are not only dangerous for humans but also bad for the environment.
- The toxic vapor present in CFLs can stay in the air for weeks and is also very harmful to human health. Not to mention the electromagnetic radiation these “energy savers” emit.
- Aside from flickering that can lead to strained vision, Fluorescents also contain mercury which is a very poisonous chemical.
- Incandescent bulbs have the shortest lifespan and often heat up easily, hence, they are not only energy inefficient but also very expensive to maintain. Plus, they are very bad for the environment.
With LED lights, you won’t have to worry about all these problems and more; which is why a lot of experts often recommend LEDs as healthy lighting for the home.
Anyway, there’s still a lot you need to know to fully answer the question: is LED light safe?
That being said, LED panels use green lighting technologies.
Which means they are very kind to the environment.
So, you won’t have to worry about environmental pollution.
Since these luminaries are made from recyclable materials, they can be repurposed when they outlive their usefulness.
Chapter 3: LED Lights and Eye Damage
Can LEDs cause eye damage?
And that’s mainly because of chronic blue light exposure.
Not everybody gets eye damage from LED lights usage.
Because eye damage will depend on several factors including:
- The amount of exposure.
- The length of time in exposure.
- The time of exposure (it’s riskier to suffer from LED lighting side-effects late at night than during early evening hours).
- The fixture’s color temperature.
Basically, if you spend a lot of time exposed to high-intensity LED light, your chances of getting eye damage increase.
The opposite is also true.
And that’s why your choice of lighting will greatly impact the health of your eyes.
1. Which Color Light Is Best for Eyes?
Obviously, the answer is natural light.
However, even sunlight can have health effects on your eyes and that’s why health experts often discourage people from looking straight at the sun.
The reason why sunlight is best is that it usually has a warmer appearance; that greatly improves our natural circadian rhythm.
When it comes to artificial lighting, warm temperature lighting sources like warm white LEDs or incandescent bulbs often do the trick.
But why settle for costly and inefficient incandescent technology when you can use warm white LED lights…?
2. Are Warm White LED Lights Bad for Eyes?
In fact, warm white LED lights are exactly what you need when you’re searching for great and efficient lighting fixtures that come with minimal demerits.
Warm LED lights are good for the eyes in that they tend to mimic natural lighting – minus the harmful Ultra Violet Rays.
Therefore, if you’ve been wondering; Which light bulbs are safest for the eyes?
Warm LED lights are your answer.
People also ask:
3. Is It Safe to Look at LED Lights?
But only for short periods; in fact, a glance is more than enough.
That’s because prolonged staring at LED lights exposes your eyes to a lot of blue light; which can have both short-term and long-term effects on your visual well-being.
4. How Do You Protect Your Eyes from LED Lights?
To ensure that your eyes remain healthy and free of any effects that may arise from LED lighting, you can:
- Avoid staring directly into your LED fixture.
- If you really have to look at your fixture, do so in short glances.
- Don’t install cool white LED lights in rooms where you spend most of your time at home; instead, opt for warm temperature LED fixtures.
- Limit your time of exposure to LED lights to at most 6-7 hours a day. That way your eyes get less exposure to blue light.
These are simple steps to protect your eyes from unnecessary stress and damage.
Anyway, eyes aside, are there any other health problems you need to know about?
Read on to find out…
Chapter 4: LED Lights and Health Problems
Aside from eye problems, you may also be wondering; can LED lights cause health problems?
Well, to fully understand this, we need to refresh our knowledge of human biology.
We all know that our bodies operate through biological processes and with the help of hormones.
And one of the important hormones is called Melatonin.
It’s responsible for the synchronizations of our body’s biological clock and cueing the light-dark cycle.
These processes often prepare our bodies for sleep while also triggering several physiological responses including:
- Temperature regulation.
- Blood Pressure.
- Secretion of digestive enzymes.
- Other hormones’ production.
And aside from these functions, Melatonin also acts as a:
- Neuroprotective agent.
- Antitumor inhibitor.
- An immune modulator.
- Anti-inflammatory hormone.
- Eases antioxidant effects
Therefore, without enough Melatonin in our bodies, a lot of things will start to go wrong.
Where does LED lighting fit into all this?
Well, research has shown that increased exposure to white LEDs causes high exposure to blue light; which in turn, suppresses the production of melatonin.
Blue light exposure doesn’t just come from LED light fixtures, you also get it from your smartphones, laptops, TVs, tablets, or any other item that’s made using white LED light technology.
And that’s why, it’s recommended that you avoid being in front of any LED screen, three hours to bedtime.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few health problems that may arise from long-time exposure to white LED light…
Health Effects of Too Much Exposure to LEDs
Aside from strained vision, too much exposure to blue light from LEDs can also cause a few other health problems.
Here are a few answers to common questions about LED light safety.
1. Do LEDs Cause Sleeplessness/Insomnia?
You may start experiencing Sleeplessness/Insomnia.
The blue light you get from LEDs triggers alertness hence resulting in the inability to sleep naturally.
Obviously, if you don’t get enough quality sleep, you won’t be well-rested when you wake up.
And that point indirectly answers the question; do LED lights make you tired?
2. Can LED Lights Give You Cancer?
Well, it is not yet a proven claim and also the blue light present in LED fixtures too low to easily cause cancer.
So, where did all this talk about cancer come from?
Research from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2007 classified night shift work that causes the disruption of the circadian rhythm as a likely carcinogen.
A carcinogen is anything capable of causing cancer in living tissue.
Nowadays, a lot of companies use LED fixtures for lighting.
Since LED lighting’s blue light stimulates the production of the Melanopsin hormone – that’s responsible for keeping you alert – it indirectly disrupts a person’s circadian rhythm.
Can you spot the relation?
Anyway, as I’ve mentioned before, the effect that LED light exposure will have on you depends on a number of factors.
And that there are ways to avoid any health problems while still enjoying the benefits of LED lighting.
3. Why Do LED Lights Cause Migraines?
Despite being an uncommon occurrence, a few people often get migraines from using LED lights.
Well, if and when a lighting fixture flickers, the rapid changes in lighting often cause immense strain on a person’s eyesight.
And as a result, prolonged exposure to flickering lights can cause migraines.
4. Do LED Lights Give Off Radiation?
One of the biggest perks that make LED fixtures the best lighting option is the fact that they don’t emit any form of radiation, infrared, or UV rays.
Hence, it’s much safer to use LED lights than it is to use incandescent and halogen bulbs.
5. Can You Be Allergic to LED Light?
Light allergies aren’t common but they do exist.
It’s often referred to as photosensitivity or photophobia – an extreme sensitivity to light.
Photosensitivity can occur under any form of lighting (not just LEDs) and is often evident when you start experiencing symptoms like:
- Visual discomfort.
- Eye inflammation.
- Light intolerance.
- Vertigo or dizziness.
- Excessive blinking and squinting.
Also, Photophobia is often triggered by things like:
- High-intensity (very bright) lighting.
- Flickering and flashing of light.
- Light color, temperature, and wavelength.
Sadly, Photosensitivity doesn’t have a specific form of treatment. However, there are things you can do to help those who experience this.
For example, you can:
- Use low light intensity LED fixtures that produce less than 800 lumens of light.
- Use warmer toned LEDs that range between 2000K and 3000K in color temperature.
- Install smart bulbs so that you can manipulate their light color and intensity to come up with the right amount of light that Photosensitive people are comfy with.
In regards to skin allergies, there are none that occur as a result of exposure to LED lighting.
Therefore, if you’ve been wondering; are led lights safe for skin?
Yes, they are.
6. Do LED Lights Cause Macular Degeneration?
The Macula is the part of the eye that enables you to see sharp and clear images of objects.
And yes, for people above 50 years of age, Macular Degeneration can cause loss of vision.
How do LEDs fit into this?
Well, according to research conducted by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES), the “phototoxic effects” of chronic blue light exposure can increase the risk of getting age-related macular degeneration.
7. Can LED Lights Cause Seizures?
Only when a person with Photosensitive Epilepsy is exposed to flickering LED light.
In fact, any type of flickering light – from LEDs, Fluorescents, TVs – can cause seizures.
Epilepsy is a health condition that develops from strokes, brain, or head trauma. And it can also be genetic.
Therefore, flickering lights can only trigger seizures but do not cause a person to become epileptic.
That being said, there are other safety concerns that are common with electrical devices – fire hazards being one of them.
So, let’s take a look at that…
Chapter 5: LED Lights and Fire Hazards
The main question here is:
Can LED lights catch fire? And if so, how easily?
Well, another major perk about LED lights is the fact that they are very energy-efficient.
That means that a lot of the energy they use is converted to light and not heat.
Therefore, if you’ve been wondering…
Do LED Bulbs Get Hot?
The correct answer is NO!
A little warm maybe…
LED lights can operate for long periods without heating up and don’t emit any form of radiation.
And that also answers the question; can you keep LED lights on all night? – but not in bedrooms or sleeping quarters.
Due to their intense brightness, LED lights can comfortably offer security lighting in spaces that are not in use all through the night.
So, do LED lights get hot enough to start a fire?
There’s an almost 0% chance of that happening – unless the fixture is faulty and damaged.
Are LED Lights Safe in Enclosed Fixtures?
The main concern here is the possibility of heat entrapment.
Basically, whenever a fixture – that heats up when in use – is placed in an enclosed container, heat accumulation is bound to occur.
When it comes to LED lights, the probability of that happening is minimal.
Well, for one, LEDs produce very little to No heat even when used for a long period.
Chapter 6: Are Led Lights Safe for Babies
Like the old, babies are also quite sensitive to blue light from LED fixtures. However, LED light doesn’t directly pose any harmful health effects on children.
You should note that kids find blue-emitting LEDs quite dazzling and may end up staring at the fixtures for quite some time.
And while occasional glances are harmless, continuous exposure to blue light from LEDs can gradually lead to retinal damage.
Therefore, just to be safe, only use warm temperature LEDs that emit very little blue light in rooms where babies spend most of their time.
And if you are wondering:
Are LED lights safe to leave on in a child’s bedroom?
The answer is YES but only if the fixture is a low-intensity (dim), warm temperature LED light.
Up to this point, we’ve talked so much about Blue Light throughout this post, but here’s a quick summary of everything you need to know about it:
Chapter 7: How Harmful Is Bluelight?
Light is not always what you see – it’s often much more complex than you can imagine.
Natural (white) light is the best and most common type of light we all know about.
But, in actual sense, it is usually a combination of several different colors.
Sunlight contains orange, yellow, green, red, and blue light colors – and when combined come out as white light.
So, yes. Even sunlight exposes you to a great amount of blue light every day.
Also, blue light is present everywhere.
Nowadays, people get exposed to blue light from things like:
- Smartphone screens.
- Computer screens.
- TV sets.
- Street lights.
- LED lights and so much more.
In a sense, you cannot avoid blue light exposure.
Contrary to popular belief, blue light isn’t always that bad.
In fact, it’s an essential necessity that helps to maintain your body’s circadian rhythm.
Well, it suppresses the production of Melatonin and triggers the production of the Melanopsin hormone that’s often responsible for keeping you alert after you wake up in the morning.
However, our bodies are designed to stay alert for a specific amount of time in a day.
And that’s why a lot of the Melatonin hormone is often produced between afternoon and evening hours to prepare our bodies for resting (sleeping) at night.
Where does the problem come in?
Seeing as Blue Light suppresses the production of Melatonin, when you get continuously exposed to lighting fixtures that emit a lot of blue light at night, your body fails to prepare to rest.
When you couple your body’s unpreparedness with the fact that your Melanopsin levels are high because of the presence of blue light, it causes you to stay alert/awake for long instead of falling asleep naturally.
And when that happens, you may start experiencing a number of sleep-related health problems.
That’s why it is not advisable to stay exposed to blue light for long hours at night.
You should try to limit your exposure by:
- Using high-intensity, cool temperature LEDs for shorter periods.
- Or – if you have to stay up for long at night – use warm temperature LEDs that emit little blue light for lighting.
- Avoid looking directly into your LED light fixtures at night.
With that said, here are some answers to common questions about blue lights and LEDs:
Do Warm White LED Bulbs Emit Blue Light?
Unlike cool white LEDs, warm fixtures are designed to mask blue light with high amounts of orange and yellow light.
That way you get way less – or even zero – blue light exposure while using an LED fixture.
What Does Blue Light Do to Your Brain?
As explained above:
Blue light suppresses the production of Melatonin; which in turn, leads to a low quality of sleep.
When you don’t sleep enough, brain functions such as memory and decision-making processes become affected.
And when that condition persists, a number of health problems often start to pop up.
Can Blue Light Cause Sleep Problems?
And by now, you know why, right?
And that’s just about everything you need to know about LED Light Safety.
With all that in mind, the best answer to the question, “Is LED Light Safe?” would be:
Yes, it is very safe.
And that’s because the only demerit that LEDs have is that some of them emit blue light.
You should also consider the fact that you get exposed to blue light from other sources including sunlight, your smartphones/tablets, computers, TVs and so much more.
Therefore, the amount of exposure you get from LEDs is only a fraction of the total blue light exposure you get in a day.
Just because it’s small exposure, it doesn’t mean that it won’t affect your health in a way or two.
The only way to be completely safe is by limiting the amount of blue light exposure from LED light by:
- Spending a short time under LED lighting at night.
- Using warm white LED fixtures when you have to stay up late.
- Using blue light filters on your digital devices.
- Always take a break when you start to experience eye strain, headaches, or fatigue.
In doing so, you’ll be able to enjoy the full benefits of using LED light fixtures without compromising on your health.
It would be a win-win for you, right?