Light emitting diode or LED lights are commonly becoming more eco-friendly alternatives to traditional incandescent light bulbs. Although LED lights and products may help conserve power and is being marketed as eco-friendly, a recent study has found that it may not be as eco-friendly after all. LED products may contain toxic metals such as lead, arsenic, and other potential hazardous substances.
Researchers from the University of California Irvine and University of California Davis tested and measured toxic substances from tiny multicolored LED light bulbs from Christmas lights, red, yellow and green traffic lights as well as car headlights and brake lights.
According to Oladele Ogunseitan, chair of UC Irvine’s Department of Population Health and Disease Prevention, “LED’s are touted as the next generation of lighting. But as we try to find better products that do not deplete energy resources or contribute to global warming, we have to be vigilant about the toxicity hazards of those marketed as replacements.”
The researchers found out that LED bulbs contain a number of different toxic metals that may be potentially hazardous to health. Low-intensity red LED’s contained 8 times the lead amount as allowed under California law. In general, high intensity LED’s contain more contaminants that lower ones. Another hazardous and toxic substance found in LED products was arsenic. Both lead and arsenic has been linked to cancers, kidney disease, hypertension and possible neurological damage in previous studies.
The risks of being subjected to the toxic substances may be present during the production use as well as disposal of the LED products. Researchers advise that consumers as well as manufacturers should be made aware of these dangers. Despite its advantage of using less power and may potentially be more eco friendly, there seems to be some hidden and new dangers that these newer bulbs may present that users may not be aware about.
Source: University of California – Irvine. “LED products billed as eco-friendly contain toxic metals, study finds.” ScienceDaily 11 February 2011. 14 February 2011 <http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2011/02/110210124136.htm>