A new study by the University of Exeter has found that an increase in LED lighting “risks harming human and animal health”.
While LED lighting is more energy-efficient, the researchers say the increased blue light radiation associated with it is causing “substantial biological impacts”. The study also claims that previous research into the effects of light pollution have underestimated the impacts of blue light radiation.
The scientists identified artificial blue light’s ability to suppress the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep, as the main health consequence of exposure. Disrupted sleep patterns can in turn lead to a variety of chronic health conditions over time.
The increase in blue light radiation has also reduced the visibility of stars in the night sky and altered the behavioural patterns of animals including moths and bats, which the study says “may have impacts on people’s sense of nature”.
The UK is among the countries singled out in the study for being most affected by the impacts of the transition to LED night lighting, especially the risk of melatonin suppression.