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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 light and human health, transportation lighting and safety, solid-state lighting, energy efficiency, and plant health. 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. Learn more at

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America's first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,900 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.