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Natural Awakenings of Greater Ann Arbor & Detroit / Wayne County Michigan

LED Bulbs Negatively Impact Melatonin

by William S. Bathgate

Melatonin is a compound that adjusts our biological clock and is known for its antioxidant and anticancer properties. With a potential ban on incandescent or modified incandescent bulbs looming in the U.S., the race is on to replace them, but the alternatives available have severe health impacts that most of us are not aware of.

            White light bulbs that emit light at shorter wavelengths are greater suppressors of the body’s production of melatonin than bulbs emitting orange-yellow light, a new international study has revealed. Exposure to the light of white LED bulbs, it turns out, suppresses melatonin five times more than exposure to the light of high-pressure sodium bulbs and other light sources. “Just as there are regulations and standards for ‘classic’ pollutants, there should also be regulations and rules for the pollution stemming from artificial light at night,” says Professor

Abraham Haim, of the University of Haifa.   


There needs to be a balance in the need to save energy and protecting public health, but this cannot be done with the LED bulbs. The fact that white artificial light, which is actually blue light on the spectrum, emitted at wavelengths of between 440 and 500 nanometers, suppresses the production of melatonin in the brain’s pineal gland is already known. Also known is the fact that suppressing the production of melatonin, which is responsible among other things, for the regulation of our biological clock, causes behavior disruptions and health problems. LED lights can also accelerate skin aging, so think again about using an LED-based makeup mirror or reading lamp. Visit, via this link,, to learn more about how daily exposure to blue light may accelerate aging, even if it doesn’t reach the eyes.

            Check out the YouTube video, via this link, to watch a live light bulb test showing the difference between the emissions of incandescent and LED bulbs.

            Researchers first examined the differences in melatonin suppression primarily in lights used for outdoor illumination such as streetlights, road lighting and mall lighting. From this comparison, it emerged that the metal halide bulb, which gives off a white light and is used for stadium lighting, suppresses melatonin at a rate more than three times greater than the high-pressure sodium (HPS) bulb, while the light-emitting diode (LED) bulb, which also gives off a white light, suppresses melatonin at a rate more than five times higher than the HPS bulb.

            Dr. Fabio Falchi, of the Ukranian ISTIL Group, says, “Most Italian regions have legislations to lower the impact of light pollution, but they still lack a regulation on the spectrum emitted by lamps. Unless legislation is updated soon, with the current trend toward sources as white LEDs, which emit a huge amount of blue light, we will enter a period of elevated negative effects of light at night on human health and environment. Lamp manufacturers cannot claim that they don’t know about the consequences of artificial light at night.”

            Science Daily reports, “The current migration from the now widely used sodium lamps and other lights to white LED lamps will increase melatonin suppression in humans and animals.”


William S. Bathgate, owner of DE Filters LLC, located at 10909 Monticello Rd., Pinckney, conducts healthy home inspections. To make an appointment or for more information call 734-627-7610, email [email protected] or visit


Green Living department is sponsored by DE Filters LLC.