French health watchdog warns on blue from LEDs

BLUE LIGHT in LEDs can damage eyes and disrupt our sleep-wake cycle, France's health watchdog has declared.

Research by the government-funded body confirms earlier fears that ‘exposure to an intense and powerful light is 'photo-toxic' and can lead to irreversible loss of retinal cells and diminished sharpness of vision,’ the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) warned in a statement.

The agency recommended in a 400-page report that the maximum limit for acute exposure be revised, even if such levels are rarely met in home or the workplace.

The report distinguished between acute exposure of high-intensity LED light, and what it terms ‘chronic exposure’ to lower intensity sources.

While less dangerous, even chronic exposure can ‘accelerate the ageing of retinal tissue, contributing to a decline in visual acuity and certain degenerative diseases such as age-related macular degeneration,’ the agency said.

The report from the hawkish health watchdog has been picked up gleefully be the UK press with the Daily Mail warning that ‘LED lights in your house can cause irreversible damage to the eyes and lead to a vision-robbing condition’.

The French report follows a previous health scare in 2013 when researchers at a Madrid university which found that LEDs can be damaging to retinas.

Dr. Celia Sanchez Ramos of Complutense University, who has been investigating the so-called ‘blue light hazard’, predicted ‘an epidemic’ of retina problems due to increased exposure to LED lighting.


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