• Europe confirms that there are no proven health risks linked to LED technology
Norms & Quality

Europe confirms that there are no proven health risks linked to LED technology

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What risks do LEDs pose to human health? According to a report from the SCHEER European Committee, LED luminaires have no direct harmful effects on our health.

On 19th July 2017, the SCHEER European Committee (Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks) published its preliminary opinion on the potential risks of LEDs on human health, and launched a public consultation. For LED users, designers and manufacturers, the results are reassuring.

LED: no proven adverse health effects

Les effets sanitaires des LED analysés dans le rapport du SCHEER concernent principalement : les risques de cancer, les perturbations du rythme circadien et les différents symptômes liés au scintillement des écrans rétroéclairés à LED (flickering).

The European Committee found that existing studies provide no proof of direct adverse effects of LED emissions on human health in normal daily use. Although some cellular and animal studies showing negative effects may be troubling, the conclusions only relate to specific populations and are derived from results obtained for exposure conditions/levels that are:

  • difficult to relate to realistic human exposures ;
  • far superior to those achieved with LED lighting systems in practice.    

As for concerns of potential sleep issues linked to exposure to LED screens, the SCHEER report states that the causal link is hard to establish. It is not yet clear that the apparent effects are caused by the LED technology itself or the mental activity involved in using such screens.

Risks of LEDs on human health: be on guard

While the SCHEER’s conclusions may be comforting for the LED industry, the committee did consider it vital to closely monitor LED technology as it evolves. It also states that we must monitor the epidemiological risk of the harmful effects of LEDs on the long-term health of the general population.

The European Committee calls for care to be taken regarding three specific usages of LED technology:

  • Pulsed light emissions from LEDs in cars, that may distract drivers ;
  • Exposure of blue light to young children, more at risk of dazzling and retina damage ;
  • Use of LEDs around elderly people, more likely to experience discomfort and difficulty reading screens.

Impact on the LED lighting industry

Since the report was published in July 2017, LED manufacturers have welcomed the reassuring findings of the SCHEER European Committee regarding the health risks posed by LEDs.

The LightingEurope industry association believes the conclusions will concretely help the industry in its efforts to inform consumers and develop high-quality LED luminaires.

In France, the Comité Technique du Syndicat de l’éclairage (Tecnical Committee of the French Lighting Union) has celebrated the contribution of Dr Jean-François Doré to the report. Dr Doré is emeritus research director at Inserm and coordinator for reports into “Radiofrequencies and health” at the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & safety (Anses).

At LEC, we are looking forward to the update of the latest Anses report (2011) on the health effects of LED luminaires. Additional support to guarantee that outdoor lighting solutions are manufactured in total compliance with the norms, do not pose any health risks and follow best practices regarding light pollution.

To learn more, you can read the full SCHEER report, and the press release from LightingEurope.

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