Blue Light Hazard: What is it and should you worry?

Blue Light Hazard: What is it and should you worry?

Initially, when first efforts were made to create a more energy efficient, longer lasting light bulb CFL bulbs were the first to arrive. However, the fact that they contained mercury, and could not be disposed of normally made them unpopular and considered unsafe. Luckily, LED bulbs and technology were also a burgeoning field and CFLs were quickly replaced with the more efficient LEDs. Recently there has been some concern regarding the LEDs and blue light hazard, a phenomenon that can cause ocular damage and prevent cell regeneration in the eyes.

Blue Light Hazard is the over exposure of the eye to a particular blue wavelength of light in the normal light spectrum. When over exposure occurs, it can cause retinal damage and ocular cell death after 9 days of exposure. While blue hazard can definitely occur with unprotected eyes viewing blue light in a concentrated laser form, additional concerns about extended exposure to LEDs that used cool white or blue light were also raised.

After many studies the United States Department of Energy finally released a fact sheet regarding LEDs and blue light hazard. The final determination was that overall blue light is present and cannot be removed from all forms of white light used in interior illumination. They also established that blue light is essential for proper visual appearance and color rendering in the eye, and has other benefits including assisting with regulating our circadian rhythm. Furthermore, the amount of blue light present in normal architectural lighting products is not hazardous. Much of the risk is mitigated by our own biological responses which include squinting, blinking, pupil constriction and turning our heads from the source of the light.

Relating specifically to LEDs, the DOE confirmed that white light LEDs used in interior lighting do not emit more blue light than any other kinds of light bulbs. They did recommend not staring directly into the blubs for a long time on purpose as this can cause damage no matter what kind of bulb it is. Parents were also cautioned about shining LED lights directly on the faces of infants since they do not possess the aversion responses necessary to protect their eyes. Still, LEDs lovers can relax, when it comes to blue light hazard, the LED bulbs in your home are safe.

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