Author Topic: "Blue Light Pollution" and various health claims?  (Read 373 times)

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Offline stlc8tr

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"Blue Light Pollution" and various health claims?
« on: June 15, 2019, 06:43:01 AM »
Was listening to a podcast and they had a segment on Chicago's 3K street lights and how bad they are for you. The various health claims seemed a bit outlandish including blue light rendering chemo "ineffective". That didn't sound right but are there any studies that would back this up?

https://www.wbez.org/shows/worldview/chicagos-led-streetlights-prove-controversial/feb3bfd1-4a4f-4d24-980a-58cacf259d17

Offline John Albert

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Re: "Blue Light Pollution" and various health claims?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2019, 08:17:17 PM »
This piece was pretty weak, especially for NPR.

So they interviewed a mead maker, a seventh grader, and some activists...

They said they talked to "scientists" and healthcare professionals, and said they were told that blue light was harmful. But for some reason they didn't actually interview any of those people for the segment.

The one medical doctor they did interview, the AMA journal editor, said nothing good or bad about health effects, but said he would overwhelmingly bet that citizens would prefer the new LED lights.

The mead maker and streetlight activist to whom they dedicated most of the segment (who made the dubious claims about cancer, chemo, melatonin, etc.) seemed to be spouting an awful lot of woo.

As far as I'm concerned the "stargazing" argument is pretty weak. Light pollution does suck for stargazing, but the necessity of streetlamps comes down to public safety. Darkened streets are very dangerous in a populous city and at this point there's no way to light a city without diluting views of the night sky. It's just a fact of life that busy, densely populated cities aren't great places to go stargazing. It seems to me that the children's failure to recognize Van Gogh's Starry Night is more attributable to gaps in art education, than an ill effect from light pollution.


FWIW, I live in Chicago and I feel that the new lights are far preferable over the old incandescent orange ones. That said, I'm not qualified to comment on the health aspects. 

But it really seems the people they've interviewed for this piece are not qualified either, and not overly concerned with the actual science.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2019, 01:58:19 AM by John Albert »

Offline stlc8tr

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Re: "Blue Light Pollution" and various health claims?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2019, 12:28:29 AM »
As far as I'm concerned the "stargazing" argument is pretty weak. Light pollution does suck for stargazing, but the necessity of streetlamps comes down to public safety. Darkened streets are very dangerous in a populous city and at this point there's no way to light a city without diluting views of the night sky. It's just a fact of life that busy, densely populated cities aren't great places to go stargazing. It seems to me that the children's failure to recognize Van Gogh's Starry Night is more attributable to gaps in art education, than an ill effect from light pollution.


FWIW, I live in Chicago and I feel that the new lights are far preferable over the old incandescent orange ones. That said, I'm not qualified to comment on the health aspects. 

But it really seems the people they've interviewed for this piece are not qualified either, and not overly concerned with the actual science.

How much "blue light" do folks get from sunlight? If blue light renders chemo ineffective, I assume patients are advised to stay indoors?

Though to be fair, I think they are advocating for the use of 2200k street lights vs the current 3k street lights. I have no idea if there is a cost difference but I usually like warmer temperature lighting so if there isn't a cost difference, I would support switching to 2200k.

Offline John Albert

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Re: "Blue Light Pollution" and various health claims?
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2019, 12:42:32 AM »
I have no idea if there is a cost difference but I usually like warmer temperature lighting so if there isn't a cost difference, I would support switching to 2200k.

It appears that the difference in cost (in terms of lower maintenance and total cost of use) is significant by at least a couple orders of magnitude.

I just did a little research, and it turns out the AMA has issued warnings about negative health effects of high-intensity LED streetlights.

Online Calinthalus

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Re: "Blue Light Pollution" and various health claims?
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2019, 10:00:09 AM »
As far as chemo goes, I wasn't told to stay indoors.  My chemo bags, however, weren't the same as saline bags.  When they brought the drugs in, they were the regular clear bags like saline, but they were wrapped in another layer of plastic that was kind of amber colored.  The nurse told me it was because the drugs reacted poorly to UV light so for storage and use they used the colored plastic to filter.  Not everyone's bags were in the amber plastic like mine, but many were.  So I think it was only for specific chemo drugs.  I was on cisplatin and a couple others whose name I don't remember.
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Online The Latinist

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Re: "Blue Light Pollution" and various health claims?
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2019, 11:56:30 AM »
As far as chemo goes, I wasn't told to stay indoors.  My chemo bags, however, weren't the same as saline bags.  When they brought the drugs in, they were the regular clear bags like saline, but they were wrapped in another layer of plastic that was kind of amber colored.  The nurse told me it was because the drugs reacted poorly to UV light so for storage and use they used the colored plastic to filter.  Not everyone's bags were in the amber plastic like mine, but many were.  So I think it was only for specific chemo drugs.  I was on cisplatin and a couple others whose name I don't remember.

It would not at all surprise me if this was the origin of the claim; things like that often get misinterpreted when filtered through a pseudoscientific lens.
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Online Calinthalus

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Re: "Blue Light Pollution" and various health claims?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2019, 11:58:46 AM »
I went poking around and a lot of cancer patients are told to stay out of direct sunlight or apply sunblock.  I'm so white I'm clear and don't really do sunlight as a rule so it didn't really come up for me.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: "Blue Light Pollution" and various health claims?
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2019, 08:32:24 PM »
As far as chemo goes, I wasn't told to stay indoors.  My chemo bags, however, weren't the same as saline bags.  When they brought the drugs in, they were the regular clear bags like saline, but they were wrapped in another layer of plastic that was kind of amber colored.  The nurse told me it was because the drugs reacted poorly to UV light so for storage and use they used the colored plastic to filter.  Not everyone's bags were in the amber plastic like mine, but many were.  So I think it was only for specific chemo drugs.  I was on cisplatin and a couple others whose name I don't remember.

Is that what is referred to as a "banana bag"?
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Online Calinthalus

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Re: "Blue Light Pollution" and various health claims?
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2019, 09:14:04 PM »
I think banana bag is a specific solution for dehydration or something.
"I think computer viruses should count as life. Maybe it says something about human nature, that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. Talk about creating life in our own image."
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