Letter to the editor: Don’t ignore lighting advice

June 15, 2017


To the editor:

I now have more information about the LED lighting that is planned for the city of Lawrence. I have concerns they will ignore the recommendations of the American Medical Association, unanimously adopted last year, that the color temperature of outdoor lighting be below 3000 K. I fear they will install lights which range from 3500 to 4500 K.

There is a long list of problems associated with the bluer lights they may choose, too long to list here. They, however, include glare, problems with sleep and hormonal changes, and negative effects on wildlife. This is just like climate change: The science is there, and our leaders should not ignore it. Some of the reactions to the AMA statement honestly remind me of the tobacco industry’s response to cancer research or the coal and oil industry’s response to global warming concerns.

This is not such a well-publicized problem, but it is one that we have a chance to stop locally before it happens. City leaders should stop this before it is too late and switch to LEDs below 3000 K.


Ken Lassman 2 months ago

Here's a good link to learn more about the topic


Thanks for bringing up this important topic--hope the city is listening!

Carol Bowen 2 months ago

Take your knowledge directly to the city commission. https://lawrenceks.org/commissioners/ Otherwise, it will be ost here.

Pamela Tresp 2 months ago

While I realize the AMA has put out a statement, the drawbacks you list in your letter are just not true. I would encourage you and the city to read the statements from the US Department of Energy and their stance on this issue. You don't have to take my word for it.

Also, you should be more concerned with SPD and not color temperature if that is indeed your argument. I'd also recommend considering the other benefits of using a higher CCT, such as better visibility for drivers and emergency personnel.

I assume the city is upgrading to LED which is a great choice and value for your city if done correctly.

Ken Lassman 2 months ago

Thanks, Pamela, for the link. I agree with the link you provided below, but Adrian would agree with it too: there is nothing inherently wrong with LEDs IF THEY ARE SELECTED PROPERLY and that is precisely what Adrian is also asking for: an LED that is 3000K or even slightly lower, with a well shielded design that keeps the light where it is needed and not spilling out into areas where wildlife--and people--are trying to sleep and/or drown out the night sky with unwanted glare. From what Adrian is suggesting, the city is considering a bluer spectrum/higher K and maybe not very well directed/shielded, which might be slightly more energy efficient but with collateral damage. Maybe the City can provide more information? Chad at the JW, here's a topic for you!

Richard Heckler 2 months ago

" it's important to direct the light only where it's needed;"

This matter has been discussed in-depth by a city appointed committee. Directing the light only where needed is not only efficient it also keeps light pollution to a minimum.

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