News, Outdoor

Health fears make city think twice on major LED decision

Light trespass and skyglow are major concerns in Montreal, where people feel LED could ruin views of the night sky
The city streets of Montreal may soon be lit by LED,  if concerns over the technology can be settled.

The city of Montreal will settle on a final decision next week on the increasingly controversial matter of replacing 132,000 street lights with LED.

It had originally been intended that the current incandescent street fixtures would be replaced with 4,000 Kelvin LEDs.

However, after a number of negative reports, including one from the American Medical Association (AMA), which claimed that the blue light emitted by LEDs could exacerbate serious illnesses, the city is now debating if a softer light should be used instead. 

Cities such as Toronto and Chicago have already chosen to reduce the strength of LED streetlights to 3,000 Kelvin and it is thought that Montreal may follow a similar route.

In Davis, California, residents are up in arms that 4,000 Kelvin LEDs have been installed and there is a campaign under way to have them removed.

‘There is a question of security, of environment, a question of health, if you go to a park, there is a certain level of brightness that you need so that you can feel secure,’ the mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, who is yet to make up his mind on the issue, commented.

At the end of last year Montreal’s public health agency concluded that 4,000 Kelvin lights did not pose more of a threat to public health than regular city lighting.

However, this report was a reversal of a recent Toronto Public Health report, which suggested the city use 3,000 Kelvin LED lights on the streets.

A final decision is expected next week.