Friday, June 5, 2009

Light at Night Linked to Cancer?

There has been a lot of recent research linking light at night with an increased risk of breast cancer and other ailments.

On Friday June 19 the New York Academy of Sciences and the Mushett Family Foundation will be hosting a one day symposium on "Circadian Disruption and Cancer". Presentations will look at the relationship between light at night, circadian disruption, and cancer, including information from past and present studies on light at night.

The meeting is endorsed by the International Dark-Sky Association. Here is what they have to say about the meeting:

As we work to become more environmentally and economically responsible, many municipalities are turning to their outdoor lighting, in particular their roadway lighting, as a way to reduce their utility bill and carbon footprint. Promises by LED manufacturers to produce lamps with longer life spans and greater efficacy are being touted as the next big solution to reducing our communities' energy needs. A number of communities are facilitating exploratory committees to examine retrofitting of their existing lighting infrastructure. The reality of the matter is that LEDs are still a relatively new technology and their potential (both positive and negative) has not fully been explored.

Many LEDs being manufactured today have a correlated color temperature (CCT) well over 5500K. Natural moonlight has a CCT of 4100K and the High Pressure Sodium lamp (which most streetlights currently use) have a CCT of around 2100K. Exposure to such a drastic increase in CCT to both wildlife and human life is at this time unknown. IDA is encouraging further research before the widespread implementation of LED streetlights with a CCT over 4100K.

The symposium will provide the latest information regarding the known effects of light at night on circadian disruption and cancer, and may offer valuable information to city managers and planning officials who are considering updating their outdoor lighting plans. Please urge your city officials to attend this event or obtain copies of the proceedings.
More information is available at:

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