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Public Health
Expert opinion

Potential risks to human health of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

Final Opinion

Description

SCHEER WG on LEDs
SCHEER members: Ana Proykova (Chair), Theodoros Samaras, Rodica Mariana Ion
External experts: Jean-Francois Doré, Ellen Bruzell, Nicolo Massimo, John O’Hagan (Rapporteur), Celia Sánchez-Ramos, Linda van Kerkhof
Contact:SANTE-C2-SCHEER@ec.europa.eu
On request from: European Commission
Approved on: 6 June 2018

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 posed by 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 some 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 populations (young children, adolescents 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) including those in toys may be very dazzling and may induce photochemical retinopathy, which is a concern especially for children below three years of age. Older people may experience discomfort from exposure to light that is rich in blue light.

Although there are cellular and animal studies showing adverse effects raising concerns, particularly in susceptible populations, their conclusions derive from results obtained either 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. Some LEDs present potential health concerns due to temporal light modulation (flicker) at frequencies of 100 Hz and above.

Reliable information on the dose-response relationship for adverse health effects for the healthy general public is not available in the scientific literature for all wavelengths emitted by LED devices.

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 long-term LED use by the general population.

Keywords:

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), risk assessment, health effects, SCHEER

Opinion to be cited as:

SCHEER (Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks), Opinion on potential risks to human health of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), 6 June 2018.

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