Scientists’ claims that thousands of new LED street lights in MK could give people cancer have been dismissed by the council.
A study by Exeter University and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health claims heavy exposure to ‘blue’ LED light doubles the risk of prostate cancer in men and significantly increases chances of breast cancer for women.
The blue light, which is also emitted by mobile phones and tablets, can disrupt humans’ biological clocks, hormone rhythms and interfere with the production of the powerful anti-oxidant melatonin, it’s claim.
Dr Alejandro Sánchez de Miguel from Exeter uni said: “Humans have evolved to need light during the day and darkness at night. As towns and cities replace older lights, we are all exposed to higher levels of blue lights... It’s imperative that we know for sure whether this increases our risk of cancer.”
MK Council is currently spending millions converting all old-style street lamps to LED light.
“I find it a worry with all this publicity about the risk of cancer,” said one resident. A council spokesman said the type of bulbs used are on the “lower end” of the blue light scale , at either 3,000 or 4,000 Kelvin. The council website describes new LED white lights as more effective at directing light onto the roads, helping to reduce accidents, crime, and making the streets safer.
A spokesman for Milton Keynes Council said the city’s new LED street lights were nothing but beneficial.
“All our street lighting in MK is designed in accordance with current UK safety standards. There is no risk to public health,” she said.
The modern bulbs are safer, and have the benefit of lowering energy consumption and reducing MK’s carbon footprint.
The spokesman said: “Unlike the older orange street lights which also direct light up as well as around, LED lights provide the right amount of light targeted to specific areas therefore actually reducing light pollution across the city. For example at Avebury Boulevard junction with Grafton Gate in CMK, we’ve removed 12 columns and installed 4.”
The spokesman said lighting on estates and residential areas is reduced while on the grid road network it is brighter and targeted.
All street lights in MK are dimmed between the hours of 10pm and 6am.