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                             Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Troy, N.Y. -  12/1/2016

LRC Scientist to Moderate Panel Session on the Health Impacts of LED Roadway Lighting

Light-emitting diode (LED) technologies are rapidly growing in terms of market share for roadway lighting systems in the U.S., with about 15% of roadway lights using LED sources. Unlike the yellowish glow of high pressure sodium lamps found in most of the other U.S. streetlights, LED illumination usually is white in color. This difference has sparked concerns about health and wellbeing from the American Medical Association (AMA).

Early LED streetlights were "cool" in color appearance, producing correlated color temperatures (CCTs) of 5000 K or higher. More recently the industry standard for CCT of LED streetlights has been around 4000 K, similar to that of many mercury vapor and metal halide lamps used in some roadway lighting. Citing potential impacts including glare, optical radiation hazards and circadian disruption, as well as effects on wildlife near lighted roads, the AMA recently recommend the use of "warmer" appearing LED lights having a CCT of 3000 K or lower. Newer LED streetlights with these lower CCTs are beginning to be available in the marketplace. More than ever, it's important to understand the consequences of using LEDs varying in CCT.

To further this understanding, a panel session entitled "Addressing Concerns about LED Street Lighting" will occur at the Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies, to share the latest evidence about the potential implications of LED roadway lighting on humans and other species. The session is sponsored by the TRB's Committee on Visibility and co-sponsored by the Committee on Ecology and Transportation.

The panel was organized and will be moderated by John Bullough, Director of Transportation and Safety Lighting Programs at the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Bullough also serves as Chair of the Visibility Committee. According to Bullough, "Road lighting specifiers have primarily been concerned about the safety benefits of roadway lighting, and LED technology has the potential to enhance those very real benefits. And there is growing awareness of the collateral effects of lighting, particularly with LEDs. An objective of this panel session is to enhance that awareness with data from disciplines not traditionally associated with the engineering of roadway lighting systems."

The session will take place in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC on January 11, 2017, and will include presentations by Maya Babu from the Mayo Clinic, Windy Boyd from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Fraser Shilling from the University of California-Davis, Kimberly Andrews from the University of Georgia, and Mark Rea from the Lighting Research Center. More information about this event can be found online at:

About the Lighting Research Center
The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the world's leading center for lighting research and education. Established in 1988 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the LRC conducts research in solid-state lighting, light and health, transportation lighting and safety, energy efficiency, and plant pathology. LRC lighting scientists with multidisciplinary expertise in research, technology, design, and human factors, collaborate with a global network of leading manufacturers and government agencies, developing innovative lighting solutions for projects that range from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to U.S. Navy submarines to hospital neonatal intensive-care units. In 1990, the LRC became the first university research center to offer graduate degrees in lighting and today, offers a M.S. in lighting and a Ph.D. to educate future leaders in lighting. With 35 full-time faculty and staff, 15 graduate students, and a 30,000 sq. ft. laboratory space, the LRC is the largest university-based lighting research and education organization in the world.

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is America's first technological research university. The university offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in engineering; the sciences; information technology and web sciences; architecture; management; and the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Rensselaer faculty advance research in a wide range of fields, with an emphasis on biotechnology, nanotechnology, computational science and engineering, data science, and the media arts and technology. The Institute has an established record of success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace, fulfilling its founding mission of applying science "to the common purposes of life."