People are being doubtful when it comes to choosing LED lighting over any other kind of illumination since some believe that LEDs emit harmful UV rays that can affect our health. But is that really true?
Indeed, a lot of studies are being conducted about LED lighting, each of them leading to different conclusions on LED light emissions and UV radiation.
But the main thing that concerns everyone is the damage that UV rays can cause to our health, skin, eyes, etc.
In this article, I will look at which type of bulb emits UV rays and also what is the amount of UV radiation and the risk that each of them produces.
But here is a short summary.
Except the LEDs that are designed to produce UV light, the others such as standard LED bulbs for home use do not produce any considerable nor a dangerous amount of UV rays. The reason why some businesses or studies say that LEDs do not produce UV radiation is that these emissions are almost 0.
Before getting concerned about the UV radiation, it is crucial to define the area where the LED lighting is being used and the purpose it is trying to achieve.
Using LED lighting in home, office, and classroom is very different from the use of UV LEDs in disinfection, medical areas and other technologies.
LED and UV Light
LED or light-emitting diode is a semiconductor light source that has found use in different fields, replacing small incandescent lights and having a lot of advantages over them.
In comparison to incandescent lights, LEDs switch faster, have a lower rate of energy consumption, and live longer.
Today, LEDs have a wider range of use, such as camera flashes, aviation lighting, traffic signals, medical and electronic devices, wallpapers, etc.
But, with all these areas where you can “be in contact” with LED lighting, have you ever thought if it gives off UV rays and puts your health at risk?
Even though there are statements that LEDs do not produce UV radiation, this is not absolutely true.
Standard LEDs create a minimal amount of UV rays, which is far less than the amount produced by natural daylight.
The only LEDs that do emit a considerable amount of UV light are brilliant blues.
Even in this case, the amount produced is too little, almost negligible because of the presence of phosphorus in the LED bulbs that creates a coating to the brilliant blue LEDs. The blue is absorbed by the phosphorus, and only the white can come through.
Some manufacturers produce white LEDs by using UV LEDs. This means that UV light is converted to white light by the phosphorus coating used.
The only risk, in this case, is that if the phosphorus is damaged, the UV rays will be emitted along with the white light.
In summary of what I have just said, in every case, the UV light produced is of an insignificant quantity, so it isn’t dangerous for our health.
On the other hand, some LEDs are designed on purpose to produce UV light, because of the benefits and treatments for which UV rays are necessary. I am talking about applications of UV light that range from tanning and photography to medical treatment and chemistry.
Do LED Bulbs Give Off Radiation
LED bulbs, like all the other electronic devices, produce EMF (Electromagnetic field) radiation but at a lower rate if they are compared to other devices.
As I said, one of the benefits of LEDs is energy efficiency, which means these bulbs work on lower electricity than the standard amount that is pulsed through the wires.
The electricity which is not used is sent back through the wires, and during this process, dirty electricity is produced, leading to Extra Low Frequency (ELF) EMF radiation.
In other terms, this refers to the amount of electricity that “travels” along power lines in which only standard 50/60 Hertz AC electricity should be. So, any other amount of electricity which is not in this frequency is what we call dirty electricity.
What Type Of Light Emits UV Rays
Except for the natural source of UV radiation, which as everyone may know is the sun, some other types of light /bulbs that emit UV rays are:
- Tanning lights
- Reptile basking bulbs
- Fluorescent bulbs
- Incandescent bulbs
Incandescent light bulbs which are the most popular types of bulbs that are used in home lightings, give off a little amount of UV rays which does not cause health problems or sunburns.
There is a specific type of bulbs that produce UV rays – reptile basking bulbs.
They work as a heat source, which is necessary to provide the reptiles with the needed warmth for maintaining their life activities at optimal levels, simulating the rays of the sun.
The amount of UV rays that these bulbs produce is much greater compared to fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs, which is the main difference between them.
Do Fluorescent Light Emit UV?
Two types of fluorescent light bulbs that are more popular in use and widely known are:
- Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs)
- Fluorescent tube lighting and circline lamps
Normally, CFL is mostly used in home lighting, and it is commonly found with integral ballasts and screw bases, while the second type in garages, under-cabinet fixtures, offices, schools, shopping centers, and stores.
In comparison to incandescent bulbs, fluorescent bulbs produce more UV radiation. Still, in the short term, this amount of UV rays is not considered of any danger either for causing sunburn or eye pain.
Anyway, the emissions of UV light by fluorescent bulbs should not be of concern if the CFLs are installed at a distance of at least 25 cm away.
Halogen Bulbs and UV Light
A halogen bulb is an incandescent bulb but with some little differences in its construction. As the name suggests, a halogen bulb has a small amount of halogen gas added in its light bulb, while the standard incandescent light bulbs mainly use argon gas.
As the halogen bulbs work at a very high temperature, they emit a considerable amount of UV rays and give off less infrared radiation.
This is why halogen lamps have to be provided with special filters (mainly with doped quartz glass) and casings to avoid the UV radiation and help from the harmful UV light.
Because of the very high temperatures, halogen bulbs can also pose fire and burn hazards. A lot of house fires each year are attributed to the ceiling-mounted halogen downlights.
There are indeed several safety codes that specifically require protection measurements for high-power bulbs like the grid, grille protection, or glass and metal housing of the fixture.
In comparison to LED and compact fluorescent lamps, halogen and incandescent lamps are less efficient.
Keep in mind that LEDs are going to produce the radiation if they are designed to.
This means that when UV rays are needed as in medical treatment technologies, nail dryers, etc. LEDs will be specifically designed to emit the required amount of UV radiation.
However, the standard LEDs only emit some UV rays, which is almost equal to zero, thus making them a safe and optimal solution for use in museums, without compromising the quality of painting, harming them or causing color degradation as some people believe.
As the technology is progressing faster and faster, there have been developed LEDs that emit ultraviolet radiation to help the organisms produce vitamin D3 in human skin, which has found a wide range of usage in the medical area.
Share your thoughts below or any other concerns you might have about UV rays emissions from LEDs.