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James Lowenthal: Cites concerns about LED outdoor lighting

  • jacoblund


Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Cites concerns about LED outdoor lighting

In “Light pollution makes inroads on night across globe” (Nov. 23), the Associated Press reports on a recent study that finds light pollution growing worse by leaps and bounds worldwide as bright, blue-rich, poorly shielded LEDs become the new norm in outdoor lighting.

The tragic, unintended result: public health problems ranging from disruption of sleep cycles to elevated rates of cancer; species of birds, mammals, amphibians and insects impacted or even threatened with extinction by the loss of a dark night they evolved to need; ugly and dangerous glare on our city streets nearly everywhere at night; and the disappearance of the Milky Way for 80 percent of Americans.

Several Northampton businesses and dozens of private citizens are helping reduce the negative impact of their new outdoor LED lights by agreeing to re-aim them straight downward and even to add glare shields. Thanks to the UMassFive College Federal Credit Union and Goggins Real Estate, both on King Street, and to State Street Fruit Store for making those simple changes, which actually make visibility better, benefiting all their neighbors as well as their own customers.

The city of Northampton should follow their good example. New LED lights in Pulaski Park, on Strong Avenue and on most city streets now produce more than twice the amount of potentially harmful blue light and at least as much glare as the familiar old pink-hued, high-pressure sodium lights they replaced.

Please write or call the mayor and city councilors and ask the city to choose outdoor lighting that provides good visibility and true safety while respecting nature and public health and enhancing our historic downtown and neighborhoods. We don’t need more light — we need better light.

For more information visit northamptoncitylights.org.

James Lowenthal

Northampton