LEDs are the most popular lighting devices in the world. The need to work and live human activities is associated with artificial light for hours daily. This fact makes many people wonder: Are LED lights safe or harmful to your health?
The strength of LEDs lies in their long lifespan, energy efficiency, and quality of light they produce. However, many users have reported the harm these light-emitting devices cause to them. The following article will teach the ultimate guide to the dangers of LED lights and solutions.
The information we give will undoubtedly benefit everyone, especially those who must be exposed to artificial light regularly.
What is LED light?
LED, or Light Emitting Diode, is a light-emitting device that appeared in 1962. This light source has undergone many improvements from that time to the present day. LEDs have become the dominant light source all over the world because of the superior characteristics they offer.
You won’t have any trouble learning how these bulbs work. LED lightings are light bulbs made of semiconductor materials. The free electrons move and generate energy when an electric current flows through the semiconductor region. This energy is converted into light energy to create the lamp’s light.
The light emitted by the semiconductor source ranges from 300 to 1000 nm. This wavelength range includes ultraviolet, visible light, and some infrared. Some lightings emit light with a single color. But there are also many devices that produce white light or have the ability to change color by setting through a dimmer.
Unlike fluorescent or incandescent lamps, LEDs have many advantages. The bulb will produce light immediately when power is passed through without delay. This device saves more than 90% of energy costs compared to traditional light sources. Moreover, their lifespan is also much longer.
Most people are already extremely familiar with light-emitting diodes. Everyone must be exposed to this light source in their life and work, from workers to people working in the office. LED lighting as the primary source in rooms, outdoor areas, traffic lights, street lights, and billboards.
In particular, micro LEDs are the light source on electronic devices, such as smartphones, televisions, tablets, and laptops. Therefore, people who spend much time using electronics will be exposed to more LED light than others.
Therefore, concern about diodes’ effects on users’ health is increasing. Many scientists and doctors have conducted studies to provide answers to questions that people are still debating.
Factors of LED lights affect your health
Studies show that LED lightings affect user health in many ways. In particular, the most harmful components of light come from blue light rays.
Some of the most popular main factors of LED lights affecting your health include where you place LED lights and the length of time you are exposed to LED lights. In addition, exposure to LED lights early in the evening or late at night, toxic materials, LED light variations, and flickering also causes great harm.
We will elaborate on each of these issues in the following section to help you have the most detailed view.
LED lights placement
Firstly, installing an unscientific lighting system will cause unpleasant problems for your eyes.
Some people habitually place lights or electronic devices too close to their eyes during use. At that time, the eyes must adjust a lot to receive the reflected light continuously.
In many cases, the led is placed close to the eyes and has too high a brightness, causing glare and pain. Some people report that they experience headaches and difficulty concentrating when working for long periods of time under bright lights.
Conversely, you may experience night blindness, blurred vision, or blurred vision if the lamp’s light is insufficient. The constant adjustment in dimly lit spaces will make the eyes overload. Dark areas that lighting cannot reach will be an easy place for users to fall into accidents.
The solution to this problem is that you need to install the lighting in the smartest way possible. LED lighting should be placed far enough from eye level and not too bright to avoid eye fatigue and pain. However, the amount of light that the lamp produces also needs to be strong enough to avoid dark spaces.
It’s best to place lights in areas where you and others only look directly at the bulb occasionally. Adding lighting in shaded areas to ensure brightness is also essential.
If you need help knowing where to place the lights properly, you can seek the help of experts. They will advise and give you the best options to light up the necessary areas.
Length of time exposure to LED lights
In the light composition that LEDs produce, blue light rays are the culprits that cause many dangerous visual diseases.
Blue light is made up of short wavelengths visible to the naked eye. Their wavelengths range from 380 to 495 nm, which is very close to ultraviolet rays. Because of its short wavelength, blue light rays carry a great deal of energy.
In most LEDs today, there is a small amount of blue light. Lamps that emit white or cool-colored light will produce more blue light than other fixtures. In particular, light-emitting diodes are responsible for brightening computer and phone screens, containing a lot of blue light.
Blue light affects human health in different ways. In it, there are positive effects and adverse effects.
Cons of blue light
Blue light is a high-energy visible (HEV) light with a wavelength of 400-490 nanometers emitted by electronic devices, LED lights, and the sun. While blue light is necessary for regulating the sleep-wake cycle, too much exposure to blue light can negatively affect our health and well-being. Here are some of the cons of blue light:
- Disrupts sleep: Blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles, which can lead to difficulty falling or staying asleep. Exposure to blue light in the evening can interfere with the body’s natural circadian rhythm, causing sleep disturbances and insomnia.
- Eye strain and fatigue: Prolonged exposure to blue light can cause eye strain, fatigue, and dry eyes. It is because blue light scatters more in the eye, leading to decreased contrast and visual acuity. Over time, this can lead to digital eye strain, which can cause headaches and neck pain.
- Accelerated aging: Blue light exposure can accelerate aging by increasing the production of free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage cells and DNA. It can lead to premature aging of the skin, including wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation.
- Increased risk of macular degeneration: Blue light can penetrate deep into the eye and reach the retina, which can increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a leading cause of blindness in older adults and can result in the loss of central vision.
- Negative impact on mood: Studies have shown that exposure to blue light at night can negatively impact mood and increase symptoms of depression. The reason is that blue light suppresses the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood.
Pros of blue light
Contrary to the above disadvantages, blue light also offers some advantages.
- Boosts alertness and concentration: Exposure to blue light can increase our attention and help us stay focused. This is because blue light suppresses melatonin production, a hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles. By reducing melatonin levels, blue light can help us stay awake and alert during the day, especially when we need to concentrate on tasks that require attention to detail.
- Helps treat certain medical conditions: Blue light therapy is a treatment used to address a variety of medical conditions, such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Blue light has been found to kill the bacteria that cause acne while also reducing inflammation and promoting healing. Additionally, blue light therapy can improve seasonal affective disorder (SAD) symptoms by regulating circadian rhythms and boosting mood.
- Improves cognitive function: Studies have shown that exposure to blue light can enhance cognitive function, memory, and learning. It is likely because blue light stimulates the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that promotes brain neurons’ growth and survival. By increasing BDNF levels, blue light may help improve cognitive function and protect against neurodegenerative diseases.
- Enhances mood: Blue light has been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. It may be because blue light exposure increases the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and emotions. By boosting serotonin levels, blue light may help improve mood and alleviate symptoms of depression.
- Increases energy and productivity: Blue light exposure can also increase energy levels and productivity, especially during the daytime. By reducing drowsiness and improving cognitive function, blue light can help us feel more alert and focused, which can translate to higher levels of productivity.
Which badly time exposure to LED lights – evening or late night
More dangerous, blue light not only affects your vision but also affects your physical health. Accordingly, these high-energy light rays stimulate the body to increase the synthesis of melanopsin and inhibit the production of melatonin.
In particular, the hormone melatonin has a significant role in the human sleep-wake cycle. This chemical plays a vital role in making the body drowsy, relaxing, and allowing the organ systems to regenerate.
Mainly if you use electronic devices too long before bed, your sleep will be shallow. Your body’s circadian rhythm will be destroyed. Poor sleep quality is the cause of neurasthenia, immunosuppression, and headaches. Your mood also goes down because the body is not healthy.
Therefore, minimizing time spent on electronic devices is essential. Instead, you can entertain yourself by participating in healthy outdoor games, planting trees, and cooking.
Avoiding phones and computers right before bed will help you sleep better and more profound. If you must use electronic devices for a long time, combine them with glasses and blue light filters from reputable sellers. Using these devices will help you minimize the harmful effects of blue light.
You can also arrange dimmable lamps in the bedroom with soft, warm colors. These lightings produce no or very little harmful blue light. They will help you relax and fall asleep quickly.
LED lights contain toxic materials
Next, some poor-quality LEDs may contain harmful chemicals like arsenic and lead. If not handled carefully, these toxins will harm human health and the environment. Therefore, you should choose carefully and use only quality products.
LED lighting does not contain many harmful chemicals compared to traditional lighting fixtures. For example, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and fluorescent bulbs often contain mercury vapor. Therefore, these products will need to undergo rigorous processing to avoid the release of toxic chemicals.
Although the lead and arsenic content in high-quality LED bulbs is safe, you must still be careful when handling them. Remember to wear gloves and a mask if you have to collect bulb fragments. Disassembling LEDs in a small and enclosed space is dangerous behavior.
Type of LED Lights
You must pay attention to the type of LED lights when installing a lighting system. The light-emitting diode lamps on the market today are very diverse. Each type of lamp has different characteristics, suitable for specific purposes.
Color temperature is one of the most critical parameters of a lighting device. The lower the color temperature parameter, the more yellow and red light the lamp will emit. Conversely, LEDs with higher color temperatures will be brighter and produce more blue light.
Accordingly, light sources with a color temperature of 5000k or more are the devices that can have the most significant impact on users’ health. They produce cold white light because they contain a lot of harmful blue light.
You can install bright lights. Instead, you can use LEDs with color temperatures ranging from 2700k to the recommended 2400k. These light sources give you all the necessary light but still ensure safety.
More than just paying attention to the color temperature parameter is required. The CRI and M/P ratios are also factors you must consider when buying a light bulb. Devices with a CRI above 80 will help your eyes not have to adjust too much. You can easily see the actual colors of things under this high-quality light.
In addition, light sources with an M/P index less than 0.4 contain less harmful blue light. Thanks to that, you can rest assured when using.
Finally, some LEDs flickering can cause serious health problems in people with high electrical sensitivity (ES) or electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS).
They only experience eye strain, headaches, or dizziness in mild cases. But if symptoms are more severe, they may experience increased heart rate, seizures, and increased risk of chronic conditions.
The solution to this problem is to limit the flickering of the light bulb. You can look for lighting labeled “flicker free.” Plus, always ensure you buy from reputable manufacturers to avoid substandard products.
In short, LED lighting may cause little problems for our health.
Besides the outstanding benefits, LED lights also have many notable disadvantages. The most apparent effects that many people notice from the long-term use of these lamps are related to vision.
In addition, the blue light emitted by artificial lighting devices can adversely affect our mood, sleep quality, and circadian cycle. Through these harmful effects, improper use of LED lights will reduce human health.
We should allocate work and rest time appropriately to limit these effects. Reducing the amount of time spent using artificial light is a good solution nowaday. In addition, Emberlight suggests buying lights from reputable manufacturers to avoid fake products that are dangerous to the health of ourselves and our family.