The Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks of the European Commission released the Preliminary Opinion in July. The Opinion was open for comments until September. NIOM scientist, Ellen Bruzell, served as external expert in the preparation of the Preliminary Opinion.
Following a request from the European Commission, the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) reviewed recent evidence to assess potential risks to human health of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) emissions.
The review of the published research conducted by the SCHEER has led to valuable conclusions and identified certain gaps in knowledge on potential risks to human health from LEDs.
The Committee concluded that there is no evidence of direct adverse health effects from LEDs emission in normal use (lamps and displays) by the general healthy population. There is a low level of evidence that exposure to light in the late evening, including that from LED lighting and/or screens may have an impact on the circadian rhythm. At the moment, it is not yet clear if this disturbance of the circadian system leads to adverse health effects.
Vulnerable and susceptible population (young children, adolescent and elderly people) have been considered separately. Children have a higher sensitivity to blue light and although emissions may not be harmful, blue LEDs (between 400 nm and 500 nm) may be very dazzling and may induce photochemical retinopathy, which is a concern especially for children below three years of age. Elderly population may experience discomfort with exposure to LED systems, including blue LED displays (for example destination displays on the front of buses will be blurred).
Although there are cellular and animal studies showing adverse effects raising concerns particularly in susceptible population, their conclusions derive from results obtained using exposure conditions that are difficult to relate to human exposures or using exposure levels greater than those likely to be achieved with LED lighting systems in practice.
Reliable information on the dose-response relationship for adverse health effects for the case of the healthy general public is not available in the scientific literature for all wavelengths emitted by LED devices, although a threshold is identified for optical radiation in general based on experimental and injury data.
Since the use of LED technology is still evolving, the Committee considers that it is important to closely monitor the risk of adverse health effects from the long term LED usage by the general population.
Potential risk to human health of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
SCHEER: Ana Proykova (Chair), Rodica Mariana Ion, Theodoros Samaras
External experts: John O’Hagan (Rapporteur), Ellen Bruzell, Jean-François Doré, Linda van Kerkhof, Massimo Nicolò, Celia Sánchez-Ramos,
SCHEER (Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks), Preliminary Opinion on Potential risks to human health of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), 6 July 2017. Link