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Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com
Can light affect your health? In this interview, Dr. Alexander Wunsch, a world class expert on photobiology, shares the hidden dangers of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting that most people are completely unaware of.
In fact, this could potentially be one of the most important video interviews I’ve done, as it has enormous impacts — not only on preventing blindness as you age but it is also a pervasive hidden risk factor for sabotaging your health.
Largely as a result of energy efficiency, there’s been a major transition to using LED as a primary indoor light source. In this regard, it worked like a charm, reducing energy requirements by as much as 95 percent compared to incandescent thermal analog sources of lighting.
However, the heat generated by incandescent light bulbs, which is infrared radiation, is actually beneficial to your health, and hence worth the extra cost.
There are major downsides to LEDs that are not fully appreciated. LED lighting may actually be one of the most important, non-native EMF radiation exposures you’re exposed to on a daily basis.
If you chose to ignore these new insights, it can have very serious long-term ramifications. It could lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of blindness in the United States and elsewhere.
Other health problems rooted in mitochondrial dysfunction may also be exacerbated, and these run the gamut from metabolic disorder to cancer.
What Is Light?
The definition of light, as applied to artificial light sources, is rather distinct. Visible light is only between 400 nanometers (nm) and 780 nm, but “light” is actually more than just what your eye can perceive. As explained by Wunsch:
“When we look at sunlight, we have a much broader spectral range, from somewhere around 300 nm up to 2,000 nm or so. For our energy efficiency calculation, it makes a big difference if we are talking about this broad natural range or if we are only talking about … vision performance
[T]he definition that we are only looking at the visible part of the spectrum [given in the 1930s] …
led to the development of energy-efficient light sources like the fluorescent lamps or what we have nowadays, the LED light sources, because they are only energy efficient as long as you take the visible part of the spectrum [into account] …
[F]or example, [lamps providing] phototherapy with red light can be used in medical therapy to increase blood circulation, and this is a part we are taking away as long as we only look at the visible part.
Physicists think that infrared radiation is just thermal waste. But from the viewpoint of a physician, this is absolutely not true; in the last 30 years there have been hundreds of scientific papers published on the beneficial aspects of a certain part in the spectrum, which is called near-infrared or infrared-A.”
What Makes Near-Infrared so Special?
You cannot feel near-infrared as heat, and you cannot see it, but it’ has a major beneficial impact in terms of health. Near-infrared is what’s missing in non-thermal artificial light sources like LED.
There’s also a difference between analog and digital forms of light sources, and this difference is another part of the complexity. In essence, there are two separate but related issues: The analog versus digital light source problem, and the spectral wavelength differences.