Looking Forward to Do No Harm on LED Products
With the advent of tunable LED-based products now capable of delivering both positive and deleterious circadian system impacts, will history repeat itself as we tread surreptitiously into the sandbox of uncharted quasimedical practice? Given what we know tempered with the concerns of the CIE, AMA, and World Health Organization, and coupled with an accelerated scientific discovery trajectory, two very important questions need to be raised: 1) Would it not be wise for lighting manufacturers and HCL advocates to curb back promises of improved cognition, enhanced sleep, and reduced fatigue attributed to simple installation of color-changing or enhanced-high-CCT lights? 2) How do we with clear conscience continue to explain our industry-wide failure to advise - let alone warn - stakeholders and occupants as to the potential for both great benefit and potential harm from the lighting products we currently sell and specify?
We don't yet know what the future holds, but all indications are that the led lighting industry will continue to push dangerously into medical sandboxes simply because there is too much money at stake. So to protect ourselves from liability and our profession from practice restraining orders, we had better wake up and become proactive by demanding scientifically-vetted (not industry-sponsored) application guidelines, and specifier educational requirements for circadian-system basic knowledge. But the most important thing we can do is for each of us to personally embrace the fact that promoting health benefits by installing tunable LEDs without proper protocols and occupant educational guidelines is nothing more than color-changing snake oil capable of delivering unintentional harm.