ANSES, the French national agency for food, enviornmental, and occupational health and safety, have published an updated report on the health effects of LED lights, and it contains material and recommendations directly relevant to all of us in the vehicle lighting community. Namely, it confirms the toxicity of blue light to the human retina, as well as blue light’s disturbance of biological rhythms. Fair enough, but there are problems with where the report goes from there. This week we’ve got analysis of that report; it’s up to us to speak up when less-than-fully-informed recommendations are published—and by the same token, if there are things we can do to reduce the negative effects of the lights we design, engineer, specify, and make, then it is our moral responsibility to do them. It might put us in something of a difficult conflict, because the blue light that causes health problems is favoured by today’s car stylists.
In any event, the vehicle lighting community really must get involved on this. The ANSES recommendation to limit headlamp intensity is not fully or accurately informed; it’s beyond doubt that night drivers need as much light as we can give them. ADB is a proven way of vastly improving the seeing/glare compromise, and there are surely adjustments that can be made to the quality of light—its blue content, for example—that will reduce the bad health effects without the safety degradation that would come from reducing headlamp intensity.
Once again, we must make up our minds what to say and how to say it, then all paddle the boat in the same direction if we’re to make forward progress.
Let’s get to work on it!