Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Medical Society Addresses Light Pollution

Researchers are raising several possible health concerns related to nighttime light exposure, among them a higher risk of cancer.

The American Medical Association has released a report detailing several possible health concerns related to nighttime light exposure. But some lighting researchers worry the conclusions are more alarmist than is warranted.

I usually think of light pollution as astronomers’ concern. Who else would mind if the sky glow is so bright that it washes out Orion? (When I can’t see Orion, I feel jilted — yes, even in the months when it’s below the horizon at night.) But the issue has a broader reach than my petulance. Fighting light pollution isn’t merely about seeing stars; it’s about being sensible in our usage and reducing waste.

Cheney in Times Square
Filmmaker Ian Cheney stands forlornly with a star wheel in Times Square in this shot from his documentary The City Dark. Light pollution is not just astronomers' pet peeve: a new report from the American Medical Association suggests that long-term nighttime light exposure could have health consequences.
Wicked Delicate Films
Still, I was surprised to see that the American Medical Association recently released a report entitled “Light Pollution: Adverse Health Effects of Nighttime Lighting.” It’s a review of some of the available research literature on nighttime lighting’s effect on people; it doesn’t present new research done by the AMA, although many of the results considered come from the authors' own work. The report covers a lot of ground, but it’s unclear what the review’s effect will ultimately be.
MORE: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/American-Medical-Society-Addresses-Light-Pollution-162582986.html

Source: SkyandTelescope.com


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