Why Photobiological Testing of LED Lighting Is Important

Many light sources including LEDs and Incandescent lamps emit Ultra Violet (UV), Infra-red and blue and white light, which are potentially hazardous to the human eyes and skin. The three parts of the body which can be affected by hazardous lights are the skin, the front of the eye (cornea, conjunctiva and the lens) and the retina at the back of the eye. The hazard affecting the retina is UV light causing denaturation of proteins and key biological components, leading to deterioration in sight causing possible blindness and the need for glasses. What does this mean?

The photo biological effects caused by lamps and luminaires mean suppliers carry a heavy burden of responsibility, and should be doing all they can to ensure the safety of their products. Many LED chip suppliers are already testing for photo biological effects. However, when we manufacture LED lamps and luminaires, the new system we have created has altered these test results. This raises serious questions when we purchase LED. Has the supplier tested to ensure safety? If there is a claim in the future, where does the liability sit? Will the supplier still be in business should a claim arise? And would this mean the end user becomes liable? This tells us the supplier and the end user must ensure they see evidence of testing for these effects. The test data should form part of their due diligence or tender process.

There is a standard which exists today for the photo biological safety of lamps and lamp systems, EN 62471:2008. Specifically, the standard specifies the exposure limits, reference measurement technique and classification scheme for the evaluation and control of photo biological hazards from all electrically powered incoherent broadband sources of optical radiation, including LEDs.

The testing standard provides us with a measurement scale categorised into Risk Groups (RG) depending on how hazardous the light source is. The higher the group, the more hazardous the photo biological effects will be. There are four RGs ranging from RG0 – RG3

So what about the growing popularity of LED lighting? LED lights are one of today’s most energy efficient and quickly developing lighting technologies and used in many residential and commercial environments. The LED or light-emitting diode lasts longer than conventional lighting and is more durable. LED lighting when compared to other forms of lighting not only lasts longer that other forms of conventional lighting but offers better lighting quality and is much more efficient.

The future for this country really is brighter as LED lighting technology can significantly change the future of lighting in the UK. Good quality LED products use much less energy and last longer than normal incandescent lighting

LEDs are the size of a fleck of pepper, and a mix of red, green, and blue LEDs is typically used to make white light. LEDs emit light in a specific direction, reducing the need for reflectors and diffusers that can trap light. This feature makes LEDs more efficient for many uses such as recessed down lights and task lighting. With other types of lighting, the light must be reflected to the desired direction and more than half of the light may never leave the fixture. LEDs emit very little heat. In comparison, incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat

LEDs are being used in a wide variety of ways both commercial LED lighting and standard residential usage. The beauty of this is that as the LED technology develops and improves more and more people will be using them which will result in lower prices for the products.

The high-efficiency and directional nature of LEDs has made them a specific target for big businesses. The amount of money companies can save on their budgets makes a huge difference and hence LED lighting for supermarkets, public lighting, garages, outdoor lighting areas etc are examples of businesses that benefit from all commercial LED lighting

You will find plenty of LED lighting examples in the modern-day where many of us can benefit from LED lighting in our everyday life. Under lighting for your kitchen cabinets is where many of us will find LEDs useful and because LEDs are small and directional we will find them useful for lighting kitchen work tops. Ideal when reading recipes from cookbooks!

Recessed down lighting is another area where many of us use LEDs, in kitchens, hallways, bathrooms etc. Of course, business can also use LEDs for down lighting in offices, hallways and other commercial environments.

Of course, we also see LEDs used in Christmas lights. LED lights used to light Christmas trees and houses up and down the UK use less electricity and are also cooler than normal lighting, so we run much less risk of children burning their fingers.

They are also much less likely to break as the lights are much more resistant and heard wearing. The LEDs used during the festive season are also longer lasting and are much easier to use with multiple strings of LED lights capable of being connected together and used constantly without overloading the socket.