The astronauts on the International Space Station captured a series of photos of Earth to measure light pollution and its effects. They discovered that LED technology, widely touted as the lighting technology that provides the highest energy savings, is actually more harmful for people and animals than previously believed.

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Astronauts reveal the true effects of LEDs


The photos studied the city of Milan, according to the article published on the Tech Insider website. Before Milan transitioned to LEDs in 2012, the lighting levels in the surrounding suburbs were about the same as those of the city centre. But after replacing the former lights with LEDs, illumination levels in the city centre were much brighter with a higher amount of blue light. Replacing the streetlamps with LEDs gave off more efficient light but increased blue light, which pollutes the night sky and affects nocturnal animals. The vast majority of wildlife and insects are nocturnal and find safety in the dark, where they hide from predators, feed, hunt, and breed. These species are the most sensitive to blue light radiation, while amber light is almost impossible for them to perceive and does not disrupt their life cycles. LED lighting technology, regardless of the colour temperature installed, still has a significant percentage of radiation emission below 500 nm (the emission peak that affects wildlife and the nocturnal environment). PC-AmberLEDs virtually cancel out thisemission peak and do not impact wildlife, insects and the natural environment they inhabit, in addition to providing significant visual improvement. They have aCRI (colour rendering index)of 40, which means a 60% improvement compared to HPS technology, which has a value of 25. Artificial lighting should be considered very carefully, evaluating its impact on people and animals to prevent negative impacts, as improper use can cause damage to nocturnal wildlife and biodiversity.

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