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Taryn DeCicco, ND, LAc, LDN | Article

The Dark Side of LEDs

6/22/2018
LED lights are making us blind and wreaking havoc on our endocrine systems, peer-reviewed studies show… Leading photobiologist recommends switching back to sunlight, candles and incandescent bulbs


One of the world’s top photobiologists has been trying to warn the public for years about the dangers of the government-mandated phasing out of incandescent lighting.


While LEDs (light-emitting diodes) are up to 95 percent more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, we are paying for that savings with our health.

A physician and lecturer at Wismar University in Germany, Alexander Wunsch is an international consultant to governments, medical facilities and the lighting industry.

His message, though often ignored, is clear: blue light, isolated from all the other colors on the light spectrum, is damaging our retinas and disrupting our endocrine systems, resulting in all sorts of physical and mental illness.

It’s not a message the LED industry, governments looking to cut carbon emissions, or consumers saving money on electricity want to hear. But, as this Harvard Medical School report says, it is “backed up by study after study.”

Natural light Natural light gives off all the colors (wavelengths) of the rainbow in a somewhat continuous manner, Wunsch explains..


Typical “white” LED lights consist of a blue light-emitting diode and phosphor (fluorescent) coating.

This fluorescent coating transforms part of the blue light into longer wavelengths, creating a yellowish “looking” light, but a large portion of the light emitted is still invisible blue light.

Blue light is high-energy, short-wave length “aggressive” light, responsible for keeping us awake and alert.

While present in sunlight, and a necessary ingredient for life, blue light needs to be balanced by all other colors of light, particularly its opposite color of light – red.

As you can see below, red light is absent in traditional fluorescent and LED lights:


Wunsch says most of us are severely deficient in near-infrared light, which has a wavelength of between 700 and 2500 nanometers.

The heat generated by incandescent light bulbs is infrared radiation. While this heat requires more electricity, the infrared light it generates is actually beneficial to your health, and therefore worth the extra cost, in Dr. Mercola’s opinion.

Near-infrared light – like that generated by a candle or fire – primes the cells in your retina for rest, repair and regeneration, which is why Wunsch uses it as a therapy on his patients.

Near-infrared is also a crucial energy source for humans. According to Wunsch, only about one-third of our bodies’ thermodynamic energy comes from food. A much larger portion comes from “photonic energy” from the sun.

The more near-infrared radiation we get, the less food is required for maintaining thermal homeostasis (body temperature), he says.

Health problems associated with excess blue light

LED lighting may be one of the largest sources of non-native electromagnetic radiation we are exposed to on a daily basis.

In addition to lighting our houses, office buildings, schools, stores and streets, LEDs have become the dominant technology for back-lighted tablet displays, such as iPads and e-readers, and large LCD television sets. Virtually all reading these days involves staring directly at an LED light source, rather than at newspapers, magazines and books, where light is reflected off the paper, rather than beamed directly into our eyes.


Many optometrists have spoken out about the damage this is doing to our eyes, one predicting 100,000 Americans will become legally blind due to blue-light damage over the next decade.

A recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal Molecular Vision says prolonged exposure to blue light with a wavelength between 400–470 nanometers can “induce severe damage to the retina.”

Even brief periods of exposure to blue light in this range can damage the retinal pigment epithelium. Damaged RPE eventually leads to photoreceptor cell death,” the study says. If enough photoreceptor cells die, total blindness can occur.

In addition to damaging our eyesight, blue light after sunset disrupts our endocrine system.

“Study after study has linked working the night shift and exposure to light at night to several types of cancer (including breast and prostate), diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, says an article published by Harvard Medical School.

These diseases may be related to the fact that light suppresses melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythms. Source for this article: living offgrid.

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