HEALTH ALERT PHILLY!
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 LynnLandes@earthlink.net & Louise Francis Louise_Francis@msn.com, Co-Founders, www.HealthAlertPhilly.org
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. http://www.kentonline.co.uk/canterbury/news/night-of-the-living-led-90891.
ADVERSE HEALTH IMPACTS: The American Medical Association (AMA) https://www.ama-assn.org/ama-adopts-guidance-reduce-harm-high-intensity-street-lights and American Optometric Association (AOA) http://www.aoa.org/Documents/CRG/Blue%20Light%20and%20Eye%20Damage.pdf 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 http://www.healthalertphilly.org/LEDstreetLights.htm
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.
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. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/some-cities-are-taking-another-look-at-led-lighting-after-ama-warning/2016/09/21/98779568-7c3d-11e6-bd86-b7bbd53d2b5d_story.html
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. http://www.govtech.com/Security-Privacy-Governance-Concerns-About-Smart-City-Technologies-Grow.html
(Mayor of Philadelphia)
Mark.Squilla@phila.gov (Chair of Streets Committee on City Council)
Carlton.Williams@phila.gov (Streets Commissioner)
Richard.Montanez@phila.gov (Deputy Streets Commissioner, Lighting & Maintenance)
Stephen.Lorenz@phila.gov (Chief Engineer, Historic Streets)
Jon.Farnham@phila.gov (Executive Director of Philadelphia Historical Commission)
your council member - http://www.phila.gov/citycouncil/imgs/map1....
City Council group email: firstname.lastname@example.org;email@example.com;firstname.lastname@example.org;;Cherelle.Parker@phila.gov;
From Health Alert Philly: articles & much more information at http://www.healthalertphilly.org/LEDstreetLights.htm
SUMMARY: Serious Harm to Human Health and the Environment:
Causes irreparable damage to eye retina - can lead to blindness
Suppresses melatonin – causes serious harm to mental & physical health
Flickers - impacting those with ADHD and can also cause debilitating headaches and migraines
Includes wireless adapter – radiation from wireless technology causes serious harm to mental & physical health
Contains hazardous components – lead, arsenic, and other potentially dangerous substances
Creates worse nighttime glare than conventional lighting, particularly for drivers and pedestrians under foggy conditions
Disrupts many species that need a dark environment
Effect On Crime – no reliable studies on LED street lights & crime, conversely, logic dictates that suppressed melatonin levels would cause an increase in crime
From Health Alert Philly: articles and much more information at http://www.healthalertphilly.org/LEDstreetLights.htm