Some Environmental & Health Activists Are On A Mission To Reform … (Checks Notes) … LED Lighting? – CleanTechnica
As you can probably imagine, clean technology sites and the people who write for them get a lot of weird e-mails and DMs. The supposed inventors of perpetual motion machines (including some really odd ones that use lard) like to reach out from time to time. There are also the right-wing whack jobs who hate us because we’ll hurt oil company profits, the left-wing scatter brains who don’t think we’re committed enough to micromanaging people, and all other manner of interesting people to talk to. We get lots of links to websites that almost put TimeCube to shame, and have similar “belly button logic.”
So, it’s not hard to get that unconventional ideas that may have some merit could fall through the cracks amid the flood of crackpottery. And, that’s what we’re looking at today. Last year, a group of activists reached out to me to tell me about LED bulbs. Specifically, they wanted to tell me that their “non-uniform light” was a problem. The e-mail had a ton of links, but didn’t really summarize what the problem was, so I didn’t really look into it further.
This may sound kind of mean, but one e-mail with difficult to understand claims against a technology that has saved a lot of energy and money over the years doesn’t carry much weight. Given the widespread adoption of LED bulbs and the good that they’ve done, any claim really needs to be extraordinary and clear to even get attention.
But, they were persistent, and kept reaching out to CleanTechnica, and I eventually decided to give them a chance and see what they were talking about.
The Issues They Take With LED Lighting
I have to admit that their webpage, entitled “The LED Fraud” wasn’t named great. Calling a widespread technology a “fraud” just sounds like something a crackpot would say. But, I decided to dig deeper and see what they’re talking about.
One problem they identify is that LED light is hard to compare to light from other types of bulbs. Why? Because LED light comes from small, flat sources instead of going out sort of evenly in all directions, this leads to a lot more light coming at some angles than others. So, when you use light measurement methods that were designed for other types of lights, you end up massively undercounting the actual light that comes out of the LEDs.
The result is probably pretty obvious: it blinds people. The light ratings say it shouldn’t, but it doesn’t really work out that way in the real world.
Another issue they get into is the color of the light. LED lights can come in a variety of colors (including soft white, which is slightly yellow), but even when they do that, the group says that most of the energy is still in the blue. Many mobile devices and computers can be set to emit less blue light at night to help with sleep issues, so you could imagine that LED lights putting out blue light that’s hard for us to consciously notice could be problematic.
The last issue they get into is that of how the light works over time. You’ll notice that LED bulbs often blink and flash on camera, and that’s because they don’t really shine continuously like regular light bulbs. In some cases, they’ll look like they flicker from certain angles …….