LED Lights Still A Safe Choice, Despite Recent Studies


Recent media reports have questioned the safety of some LED light bulbs, citing concerns about hazardous materials contained inside some lights.  But these concerns are largely overblown, and LEDs remain one of the cleanest and safest lighting technologies on the market.

A recent USA Today article profiled a University of California-Irvine/ University of California-Davis study which discovered elevated levels of chemicals such as lead and nickel in some holiday LED light strands.  The substances seemed to be particularly concentrated in red-colored lights, surprising study co-author Oladele Ogunseitan.  “I didn’t expect this full range of chemicals to leach out,” he says.

However, while any electronics containing potentially hazardous materials should be handled carefully, LED lighting in general remains an extremely environmentally-friendly option.  Terry McGowan, director of engineering for the American Lighting Association, explains in the article that screw-in type LED light bulbs are less of a concern than fluorescent bulbs because of LEDs’ durability.  LED light bulbs don’t contain mercury like CFLs, and chemicals inside a bulb are only a household problem in the event of a breakage.

energy efficient led light bulbs

Screw-In LED Light Bulbs Are Durable, Mercury-Free

“LEDs are solid pieces of metal and plastic,” says McGowan.  “They don’t shatter like a glass light bulb; don’t have a gas that might escape; don’t readily burn, melt, dissolve or break apart.”

Finally, as far as environmental pollution is concerned, it’s important to remember that an LED bulb saves so much energy that its overall effect is still very positive.  Electrical plants that produce the energy to power less efficient bulbs release far more pollution than anything contained in even the “dirtiest” LED or fluorescent bulb.

The UC study doesn’t seem to have changed Ogunseitan’s regard for LED bulbs.  “I still think LEDs are the next generation of lighting,” he says.

via USA Today