LED technology is considered to be that of the future because: it consumes little and its lifespan is not negligible. However, it still poses some health risks. According to an ANSES report issued on October 25, 2010, here are the positive points of this technology, but also the points that challenge.

Good points

  • It highlights the advantage of LEDs;
  • It is favorable to the development of product and lighting standards;
  • It encourages the search for the best technologies as well as good practices such as: specifications, installation and maintenance criteria, a project approach, etc.

Points of interpellation

  • It mentions the risks of dazzling associated with the use of certain LEDs whose design and method of use may be inappropriate;
  • It highlights the photobiological risks emitting strongly in the blue.

French regulations: Decree of 2/07/2010 – Protection of workers against the risks due to artificial optical radiation.

  • Impact on business managers for all sources of lighting (risk analysis, prevention, training or corrective actions);
  • Introduces ELVs (7 Exposure Limit Values) in UV, “blue”, visible and IR based on ICNIRP regulations;
  • Need for the members of the Lighting Syndicate to provide spectral curves and calculation of ELV as a method of proof in the context of control, study of lighting installations and compliance with regulations.

European standard NF EN 62471: Photobiological safety of lamps and devices using lamps.

  • Impact on health for all lighting sources and products including retinal phototoxicity in the blue according to four risk classes from 0 to 3;
  • Applicable for CE marking under the DBT in September 2011.

International IEC

TC 76 / TC 34 – Standard in preparation: Photobiological marking of risk class 2 and 3 lighting products depending on the type of technology.

Photobiological Risks

The term “Photobiology Risk” refers to the potential of LED light to injure the eye, and more specifically at the ends of the visible spectrum. The blue end of the visible spectrum, the risks are UV light, while for the red side, it relates more to infrared light.

LED light contains little light from the ultraviolet or infrared spectrum and is therefore not harmful to the skin. However, it contains a high intensity blue spectrum that can cause irreversible retinal damage when stared at – too long. This phenomenon is also called the “Blue Light Hazard”.

The European standard EN 62471 for photobiological safety provides a method of measurement to determine whether a lamp or lighting fixture poses a risk of eye and skin damage.
This allows the classification of the product studied according to 4 risk groups ranging from 0 to 3 for lighting devices but also optical systems with LEDs: The European standard EN 62471 in terms of photobiological safety provides a measurement method making it possible to determine if a lamp or light fixture poses a risk of eye and skin damage.

  • Risk group 0 (“exempt” group): the user does not run any risk, even by looking at the light source in question for a long time.
  • Risk group 1: the risk is limited. The user can look at the light source for a maximum of 10,000 seconds (i.e. a little less than three hours)
  • Risk group 2: The user can look at the light source for a maximum of 100 seconds.
  • Risk group 3: The user can look at the light source for a maximum of 0.25 seconds, ie less time than the eye’s natural protective reflex.

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Photo Credit: Lighting