On Friday, Feb. 16, Karen Rubin, columnist for the Great Neck News, published an article which assessed the wisdom of the Great Neck Village’s decision to install LED street lights in place of expensive to operate, obsolete sodium vapor lights.
I thought Karen did an excellent job in exposing the many areas of disagreement such as adequacy of information provided to the public, weather the agreement to install was sufficiently transparent, the possible dangers of the blue-light content of the lights, and other issues linked to the electronics of the installation.
In my view, I believe Karen’s review was fair and analytically sound and I recommend the column to everyone. Karen concluded that the project is worth the village’s decision to go ahead and I agree completely.
It did not take long for opposition objections to erupt. On Friday Feb. 16, the Great Neck News printed a column by Amy Glass titled “Setting the Record Straight.” (Amy Glass was a copy editor for the American Institute of Physics and worked as a consultant in statistics and computer technology.)
This article heavily attacked Rubin, but fell far short in the most important issue she raised. Is there any scientific evidence that LED lights pose a health risk?
In an earlier article, Ms.Glass quoted two older studies that suggested LED lights could do damage, but the exposure has to be chronic, acute, daylong, lifetime exposure.
Hardly what residents will experience in Great Neck.
In a more recent study from Harvard, the investigators followed 109,672 nurses over 15 years. Using satellite data to determine light exposure where they lived, they found that the only outstanding subgroups for women’s disease were smokers, former smokers and night-shift workers.
Thus it seems the scientific data Ms. Glass frequently refers to is pretty weak, if not nonexistent.
It is noteworthy that Ms. Glass never mentions the benefits of LED streetlights in terms of cost, efficiency and not the least of all safety.