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Urge you to change course on LEDs before too many are installed

Letter to the Editor



I read with interest your story [May 23 issue] about blinding LED streetlights. We have the same problem in Houston, Texas, and I would urge you to change course before too many are installed.

Too many stories on this issue make it sound like there is a stark choice, overly bright white LED street lights or nothing at all. In fact, study after study has shown that people feel just as safe with toned down warmer, white LED streetlights with less of the blue light that feels harsh and keeps people awake at night. The City Council of Phoenix, Ariz., voted 9 to 0 to use warmer, white LED streetlights citywide when they saw how much more beautiful LED lighting can be. They looked at the recommendations of the American Medical Association, which strongly urges avoiding too much blue spectrum at night due to uncomfortable glare and health problems associated with suppressing melatonin at night, the hormone that helps us sleep and slows the growth of some cancers, including breast and prostate.

I was in Idaho for the solar eclipse last year and was stunned by the gorgeous night sky. There is no reason you cannot preserve a beautiful nightscape near your town while safely lighting your streets. Please take a look at the newer LED choices. Most major cities have already abandoned overly bright LED lighting including Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and the entire state of Georgia and many are saving even more energy. A warmer white provides just as good visibility on high traffic streets and a more amber LED light allows good visibility on residential streets without sacrificing color rendition, ambiance, or a good night’s sleep.

With LED streetlights lasting up to 20 years, it is imperative to look at all the options before it is too late.

References: Tucson’s warm white LED lighting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJL-WPwjMQM; http://darksky.org/tucson-arizona-u-s-skyglow-reduced-7-after-street-light-conversion/; www.softlighthouston.com

Deborah Moran

Houston, Texas



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