An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
How Light Pollution Affects Human Health
There are many organizations and web pages out there that strive to collect money from you to
Disclaimer: I am not an expert in the fields of biology, neuroscience, endocrinology, or oncology. I am, by training, a physicist. What I'll try to cover here is predominately based on my introductory understanding of articles that I have read. These pages then are a limited and a quite incomplete coverage of the evolution of thought regarding this issue, in what time I have had to devote to it. Whether or not the evidence presented here proves to be true or not, I find them to be of sufficient importance, that I thought that it was a worthy usage of that time. These evolving pages contain a growing collection of reviews of papers about the issue. Each of the reviews will have key findings highlighted and the citations to the paper, with online links if possible, so that you can follow up and corroborate what I understand.
As a quick introduction (or just for those who are impatient), here is a recently covered article in a series about night work on CNN.com.
These pages are not a call for money. They are just a request that we all participate in ending light pollution by ensuring that we do not contribute directly to the problem and that talk about it to others to educate them. To know what to do to correct this problem from affecting yourself or your neighbors, head over to our Light Pollution Prevention page for ideas and tips.
So, does light pollution directly cause health problems? No. Unlike in astronomy, light itself is not the problem.
The next time that someone says to you
Because more of us are sleeping in overly lit nights, light pollution is
being investigated as a interfering, aggravating factor that suppresses natural melatonin levels in humans at night. This
The papers that have been reviewed are reorganized by subject and by date in this listing. I have commented on them in a chronological sequence below.
Obesity is now the second leading cause of preventable premature death in the United States (after smoking), and accounts for approximately 400,000 deaths per year, its almost 8 percent of the total cost of illness and is growing. The next article may give a hint why:
A New Possible Link Between Light Pollution and Obesity?
Foodconsumer.org has a
page that shows another resulting effect of light pollution -- obesity. They report our
The short sleep durations could be a signal to our metabolic regulatory systems that it's summertime-it's time to go out, gain weight, build up fat reserves, to prepare for winter.
Other information and sites about the negative health effects of light pollution
Other sites about the negative health effects of light pollution to check out are:
When I think about the term "light pollution", I know that it sounds extreme. However, when one considers the damaging effects it causes us and the animals out in the wild, one realizes that light pollution is just as damaging as a toxic chemical spill across the land. The results are almost the same. The difference is that with light pollution, we keep paying for and consuming energy resources, night after night, just to re-make this very same pollution, which we could so easily correct if we just put in some effort. In short, stop harming yourself and others in society. Just turn the lights off.
Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton, Florida
E-mail: vandernoot at mail dot sci dot fau dot edu
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