Apr 29 2019
While previous eras may have been excused from their ignorance of the damage of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the same excuses can’t be made for present generations. Sunscreen, shades and even beauty products are requisites in any sunny climate. However, many may still be unaware of the problems related to artificial light and UV radiation.
Advances in LED technology have made bulbs cheaper, more cost-effective and more energy efficient than their metal halide and high-pressure sodium predecessors. But do leds emit uv radiation? Let OEO explain further.
Is ultraviolet radiation from light bulbs a health hazard?
While protecting against the sun's ultraviolet radiation can help reduce skin diseases like melanoma and other cancers, do you have the same concerns about artificial light bulbs? If threats were as dangerous as sunlight, we would not be exposed to indoor lighting as we are to indoor lighting. The threat of artificial lighting is more subtle.
Of course, exposure to certain types of ultraviolet light greatly increases the likelihood of certain diseases, such as cancer. Tanning salons with uv booths are a good example. Light bulbs in your home do not have the same intensity or uv radiation levels.
In an industrial environment, however, the amount of light required is much greater. This depends on usage, but these indoor industrial Spaces, from food processing plants to paper mills, need to be carefully controlled. This means providing most of the light from artificial sources. It also means having the appropriate light intensity to perform the tasks necessary for a particular industry.
Health problems associated with ultraviolet lighting
Various health problems associated with uv radiation include:
Photokeratitis and other forms of eye damage
Exacerbates existing conditions such as lupus
The amount of ultraviolet radiation from these artificial sources is questionable. While many parents may hear horror stories about their children's time spent on tablet and cellphone screens, there is little evidence that ultraviolet radiation from these sources does much harm.
High-intensity discharge bulbs such as metal halide bulbs and high-voltage sodium bulbs are a different story. Most HID applications emit high levels of uv radiation and require special uv blocking filters to meet safety standards under most working conditions. The security problem is compounded when industrial-scale Spaces are illuminated by so many powerful HID lights.
Safety glasses are required by law to prevent ultraviolet radiation in the growing space where high-intensity discharge lamps are used. Even with blocking filter technology, faulty bulbs can leak and cause hidden damage.
Do LED bulbs emit uv radiation?
For most LED bulbs, they do not emit ultraviolet radiation for industrial and other purposes. In the early LED light incarnations, the reason they didn't emit uv radiation was that they couldn't emit white light. Since the advent of white leds, however, that has changed. White LED bulbs are produced by coating phosphors with bright blue leds. This absorbs the blue and allows only the white to pass through.
While most types of LED lighting do not emit any ultraviolet light, bright blue does emit a small amount. However, the phosphor reduces it to such a small fraction that the amount emitted is essentially negligible. No filters are required, which is why they are used in many environments where photosensitivity is a concern.
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