Are LED Lights Safe?
A few short years ago, domestic, and commercial properties were filled with inefficient and poor performance incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. Fast forward to today, and you’ll find that LED lights have overtaken their dated counterparts, and have quickly become the leading lighting solution for businesses and homeowners alike. But despite their surge in popularity, one question continues to plague potential buyers - are LED lights safe?
You may already be familiar with the positives associated with LED bulbs, from their high-quality components that increase their longevity, to their energy efficiency that helps keep your bills down, their brightness and intensity options, as well as a stunning colour and style range that compliments any property. Additionally, as LED bulbs emit low levels of heat, many homeowners are choosing LEDs bulbs over incandescent options due to reduced fire and injury risks.
Of course, not everyone is jumping on the LED bandwagon, and as with any new product that takes its industry by storm, there are always going to be some questions around potential health and safety threats, most notably, are LED lights safe to have in our homes and businesses. While the energy efficiency and practicality of LED bulbs cannot be denied, it’s only fair that we examine the interesting claims around LED safety, whether they have any credibility and what can be done to put the consumer’s mind at ease. Read on to discover if LED lights are safe.
The Claim: LEDs Cause Eye Damage
You’re probably familiar with the term blue light, and how too much exposure to this kind of illumination can lead to all kinds of potential eye and even cardiac problems. Blue light is a luminesce that is emitted from LED screens and as a detailed study from ANSES has highlighted, can have disruptive effects on biological rhythms and sleep, as well as accelerating conditions such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and eye strain which can lead to severe discomfort and a lower quality of life.
So, are LED lights safe to have in our homes? While the studies around the effects of blue light and LED luminescence are concerning, it’s worth remembering that LED bulbs – although emitting blue light – isn’t the primary concern in these findings. The harmful blue light produced from LED screens such as laptops, smartphones and tablets is the main concern, especially when users spend extensive periods exposed to them.
So, What’s the Solution?
As we’ve discussed, it’s important to recognise that links between LED bulbs, blue light and eye damage are still under scrutiny, however, if you are concerned about overexposure to blue light, consider these simple solutions.
- Only choose LED bulbs that meet safety standards
- If you’re installing bright LEDs, consider Dimmable LEDs or shades to reduce the brightness
- Consider wearing blue light blocking glasses when near blue light-emitting technology
The Claim: LEDs Cause Psychical Problems
We all suffer from headaches and migraines from time to time, but some individuals are expressing concern that LED bulbs could be aggravating this debilitating health issue. Interestingly, light sensitivity or photophobia is a common disorder mostly attributed to individuals with predisposed eye conditions, with around 80% of individuals suffering from photophobia listing migraines as a symptom, according to a study from the US National Library of Medicine. However, it’s widely accepted that visual stimulation from blue light-emitting electronic devices can trigger migraine attacks and photophobia amongst sufferers, as opposed to LED bulbs and lighting solutions.
So are LED lights safe to have at home? Curiously, those who have found that headaches and migraines are much more frequent since the installation of their LED bulbs may find that the source of their discomfort is caused by flickering. While some flickering patterns are obvious, others are invisible to the human eye and could be attributed to poor components, bad wiring and installation or mismatched dimmable products that don’t meet the requirement of the chosen LED bulbs.
So, What’s the Solution?
It’s good to know that these issues can easily be fixed with some straightforward resolutions that we’ll look at below.
- Only choose LED bulbs and components from reputable retailers that adhere to the latest industry standards
- Always ensure that your dimmable LEDs are fully compatible with your dimmable circuits and dimmer switches
- Consider installing LED Spotlights that can be angled away to reduce glare
- Always have your LED bulbs fitted by an expert
The Claim: LEDs Affect Your Sleep Patterns
Overexposure to blue light not only impacts our vision but also harms the quality of sleep we’re getting, which is another reason why individuals are showing concern over the installation of LED bulbs and asking, are LED bulbs safe? The blue light produced from LED devices can impact the bodies’ ability to produce melatonin – the relaxing hormone – which, according to data gathered by the Sleep Foundation, means we’re persistently alert and unable to “switch off”.
It’s also worth remembering that blue light is also a natural form of luminosity that is emitted from the sun, which helps us to set natural cardiac rhythms and prompts us to feel tired when it becomes dark. As for LED bulbs, studies between their blue light production and sleep are ongoing, however, it’s generally thought that issues with sleeping patterns and melatonin production problems stem from LED screens, not their bulb counterparts. So, when we ask the question, are LED lights safe - in terms of LED bulb installation, property owners can rest easy.
So, What’s the Solution?
If you want to improve your sleeping cycles and continue to enjoy LED devices and bulbs in your home, there are some changes you can make to ensure your sleeping patterns are not inhibited.
- Have better control over your LED bulbs by installing dimmer switches
- In areas that require focus and concentration, such as offices and kitchens, choose Cool White LED bulbs, and use Warm White bulbs in areas for relaxing such as the living room and bedroom
- Create a better bedtime routine, which involves no screens at least one hour before you go to bed
The Claim: LEDs Are Harmful to Nature
We’re all conscious of the impact we’re having on the planet. Greenhouse gasses, CO2 emissions, landfill, and ocean waste, we all want to do our bit to reduce our carbon footprint and leave a better planet for our children. But are LED lights safe for the planet?
In reality, even the way we illuminate our homes could be causing more devastation for the world we live in. Traditional bulbs such as fluorescent and compact fluorescent bulbs are toxic, due to the amount of mercury they contain, and as a result, must be disposed of as hazardous waste. Unfortunately, when these bulbs are not disposed of correctly, the toxic elements can leak into the environment around them, causing contamination and harm to the planet.
LED bulbs however are not considered to be toxic or harmful to nature, in fact, they can be disposed of safely without any potential risks to the environment. And as they have a longer lifespan than traditional bulbs, waste less energy and are considered efficient, the fact that LEDs are a better choice for the planet is irrefutable.
So, What’s the Solution?
We know that LED bulbs are better for the environment, however, as with any bulb if you’re exposed to a broken or damaged unit, you should handle it with caution.
- If taking apart an LED bulb, do so in a well-ventilated area
- If handling a broken LED bulb, use gloves, mask and eye protection
So, Are Led Lights Safe?
It’s clear that with the right approach and with products sourced from industry standard and reputable manufacturers LED lights are safe to have in our homes and businesses. But as with any lighting source, as consumers, we should always follow the advice given to keep ourselves safe and to make the most of our lighting choice.