RELEASE: March 7, 2017
Contact:  Lynn Landes, 215-629-3553

Report of the February 6, 2017 Health Alert Philly meeting on

The Health, Safety, Privacy, and Ambiance Problems of LED Street Lights

by Lynn Landes & Louise Francis, Co-Founders,

We want to thank Deputy Streets Commissioner Richard J Montanez and his staff for attending the Health Alert Philly meeting on Philadelphia’s city-wide conversion to LED street lights.  Mr. Montanez answered residents’ questions for over an hour.  The following is a brief description of the issues that were covered at the meeting, plus some additional questions and comments.

AMBIANCE:  Most of the residents who spoke were opposed to the stark white color and the harsh glare of the LED street lights.  Mr. Montanez suggested that the Streets Department was open to dimming the lights, however the stark white color, which some report makes people look like zombies, would remain for the foreseeable future.

ADVERSE HEALTH IMPACTS:  The American Medical Association (AMA) and American Optometric Association (AOA) have issued strong advisories against the use of LED street lights, which include both health and safety issues.  Health Alert Philly’s concerns also include wireless technology and surveillance cameras on the LED street lights (i.e., Smart Cities, radiation illness, and the Constitutional right to privacy).  See Summary of Harmful Effects below and for more information, visit

NO GOVERNMENT ‘HEALTH IMPACT’ STUDY:  The most important thing we learned from our meeting with Mr. Montanez was that the serious and harmful health effects of LED street lights have not been taken into consideration by the City of Philadelphia in any meaningful manner, nor has the city, state, or federal government conducted a Health Impact Study on LED street lights. So, although substantial adverse health effects of LEDs are known to the medical community, due to inaction on the part of every level of government (except to provide generous funding), municipalities across the nation are blindly transitioning to LED street lights and an inevitable health and safety disaster. 

‘PILING ON’ ADVERSE HEALTH IMPACTS: Mr. Montanez said that he recognizes the concerns of the AMA, however his explanation for over-riding serious health and safety concerns, appears to rest on the fact that there are many other sources of LED and wireless-radiation exposure, and therefore, LED street lights should not be singled out.  Lynn Landes of Health Alert Philly and other attendees pointed out that just because other sources of harmful exposure exist, does not constitute a sound excuse to add to the negative cumulative impact of LEDs and 'pile on', as it were.  On the contrary, Philadelphia should be looking for ways to lessen harmful exposures, not increase them. This is particularly true for school children, who should avoid exposures that suppresses melatonin levels and disrupts their circadian rhythm, two major side effects of LED lights.  Nonetheless, the Streets Department is forging ahead with the LED street light conversion, a proven unhealthy and unsafe technology.

LATEST TECH vs CURRENT TECH: A recurring question at the meeting was, why is the Streets Department using 4000K LED street lights when the safer 3000K are available?  Mr. Montanez answered that the public will always want to next best thing, which did not do much to alleviate concerns about health and ambiance.  Also, a natural follow-up to the question is, “Why is the Streets Department removing safe street lighting for unsafe lighting?”  Whatever may be gained in energy savings, will be lost in increased physical and mental injuries, as well as medical costs.

WHY BRIGHTEST SETTING FOR LED STREET LIGHTS?  It was also concerning to hear that, unless residents complain, the Streets Department plans on, or is currently, turning on the LED lights to their brightest setting and then dimming the lights as the night wears on.  Mr. Montanez justified the bright LED lights, at least partially, because of a program called “Vision Zero”, which is supposedly designed to safeguard pedestrians crossing the street at night.  However, we believe the brightness has  more to do with surveillance and facial recognition, than safety.  Again, where is the consideration on the part of the Streets Department for glare and damage done to the public health?  The bright white LED lights are blinding to many residents, both literally and figuratively.

FUNDING, LED REMOVAL AND REPLACEMENT:  Mr. Montanez, in answering a question about cost/benefit analysis, indicated that at least initially energy savings did not exceed costs of the lights.  And although funds are currently available to install LED street lights, if public opposition grows and demands are made for a safe or safer technology, will there be funds available to replace the current LED lights or re-install the old lights?  In that regard, we hope that the Streets Department is warehousing the old street lights and if they are not, then they should.

SURVEILLANCE, PRIVACY RIGHTS, & SAFETY:  Some attendees at the meeting were concerned about the fact that these LED street lights have adapters for surveillance cameras and questioned what that means for their legal right to privacy and personal safety.  Mr. Martinez indicated that the plan is to incorporate surveillance equipment into the lights.  That is a very alarming plan.  Just as any computer or cell phone can be hacked, so can video devices (wireless or cable).  Therefore, residents and their families’ comings and goings can be tracked by anyone, including:  federal authorities, state and local police, data collectors, criminals (i.e., burglars, kidnappers, rapists, pedophiles, stalkers, etc.) or any busy body from anywhere around the world can hack into these systems.  According to the hacker community, it is not that difficult.  In fact, DC’s surveillance system was hit with hack attack before President Trump’s inauguration.

PUBLIC OPT-OUT:  Mr. Montanez made the offer that if residents do not want the LED street lights in their neighborhood, they could call his office he would see what he could do about it.  According to Mr. Montanez, a few neighborhoods have declined the LED lights.  Some cities have received so many complaints about the LED lights that they are either returning to the old lights or substantially dimming their LED streets lights.

RECOMMENDATION:  Health Alert Philly strongly recommends suspending the LED street light program and the removal of the LED lights, wireless cell adapters, and surveillance cameras, as they are inherently unhealthy, unsafe, and an unconstitutional invasion of privacy.  Furthermore, we recommend reinstalling the former street lights.  Lastly, we encourage the residents, businesses, and civic associations of Philadelphia to contact Mayor Kenney and members of City Council and call for public hearings and an investigation into the LED Street Light program and the Smart City program, as well.  For the latter program could possibly include an even greater threat to public health and safety, as well as constitute yet another unconstitutional intrusion into our privacy which, deliberately or by accident, can be turned against the public welfare with catastrophic consequences for all.   (Mayor of Philadelphia)  (Chair of Streets Committee on City Council)  (Streets Commissioner) (Deputy Streets Commissioner, Lighting & Maintenance)  (Chief Engineer, Historic Streets)  (Executive Director of Philadelphia Historical Commission)
your council member -

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From Health Alert Philly:  articles & much more information at

SUMMARY:  Serious Harm to Human Health and the Environment:


  • Irreparable Eye Retina Damage
  • Insomnia
  • Disturbs Circadian Rhythms
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart & Blood Disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Sarcoidosis (Inflammatory Disease)
  • Human Reproduction
  • Menopause
  • Breast Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Sun Sensitivity
  • Benzodiazepine Withdrawal


  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Bipolar Depression
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD 
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  • Autism
  • Alzheimer’s 




From Health Alert Philly: articles and much more information at