Street lamps triggering cancer...?

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  • I think the idea that disruption of the Circadian rhythm can negatively affect health has been around for quite a long time. I remember learning about it in the 90's so the focus was on people who worked night shifts. I think people who worked nights had a higher rate of breast/prostate cancer and a higher risk of heart attacks.

    There was another article a little while back that suggested people who weren't naturally early risers but had to get up early for work also had a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer.

    If historical evidence has been accurately interpreted, it's only in the last 200 years that we moved away from the pattern of two sleeps. It was common for people to go sleep in the evening when the sunset, sleep for 4 hours, wake up for a couple of hours before going back to sleep for another 3-4 hours. Supposedly, this was a more natural way of sleeping but it all changed with the industrial revolution and the need for people to work shifts in factories.

    We just seem to be moving future away from living a natural existence and paying attention to the cycles and rhythms of our bodies which can't be a good thing. Even if it's argued that blue light emitting street lamps don't directly cause specific health issues, light pollution is still a problem for a lot of people. Not sleeping well because of light pollution will eventually cause ill health.

  • how much time time do you spend on the steet under these lamps ? id be more concered about the lighting and devices that you have in your home ,including wifi and mobile phones which are basicly minature microwave ovens

  • One of the problems with the street lamps in some areas is that they can be very intrusive, coming through ordinary curtains quite easily, and waking light sleepers, or making it difficult for them to get off to sleep.

    Then there are the (bonkers!) security lights outside houses on some estates, that either trigger off at every passing cat, or are on and off all night in a repeating time pattern. All these are LED, all are brighter than street lamps. We have some near us, and need blackout curtains in the bedroom to keep the light out.

    But quite agree about the LED household lights, plus wi-fi and mobile phones being shortwave/microwave transmitters. Add to that the latest smartmeters, transmitting every few seconds...

  • Interesting that this is more about our body clocks than it is the actual lighting -- although I use blue light filtering on my phone and PC as i find it helps me to relax a lot more.

    The LED lighting in my home has warm/cool settings and I find it much more relaxing if I keep it on the warm setting.

    Also, interestingly, is this quote:


    There are five times fewer cases of breast cancer in developing countries, where electric light is less widespread, than in industrialised nations.

    The low dairy consumption in developing countries has also been (inconclusively) linked to lower instances of breast cancer, largely due to the oestrogen content in dairy.

    Because of that, I'd suggest this could be a case of correlation not being equal to causation, and that lighting isn't the actual cause, but lifestyle and trying to meddle with our body's natural requirements is.

  • The theory of cows milk being a potential cause of certain cancers is explored in The China Study. I agree with Paul in that correlation doesn't necessarily equal causation - I think that pretty much applies to any potential environmental/dietary theory as the individual variables are so great. Years ago people were worried that living by electricity pylons and telephone masts was leading to greater increase in certain cancers. I haven't seen anything about it for years but it was on the news a lot for a period of time. Perhaps it was a load of balls or it just stopped getting coverage because the suggestion is that most people would be screwed.

    It's still very early days for understanding the causes of multiple sclerosis. I was reading about it recently and there is a theory that living in a certain regions means you're more likely to develop MS but people don't know why that is yet. There is also a small possibility that if you have a direct relative with MS you might develop it as well but that could be because you live in the same part of the country as the person with MS.

    I think it'll be difficult for anyone to conclusively prove negative findings against certain dietary or environmental factors as corporations will discredit or counter argue against anything that will potentially mean they lose out on business.

    At the end of day, if people eat a diet comprised of food which isn't natural, are permanently stressed, can't sleep well and never spend time outdoors they'll probably get sick. But then sometimes you get people who do everything right in terms of a diet and exercise and they still die young because of genetic factors...

    So really, the mantra of 'Live for today, hope for tomorrow and try not to do anything too stupid in between' is probably the best way to live.....

  • They are just completing changing the sodium lamps here in the village to led, its a lot brighter at night now. Luckily I installed blackout curtains and a pelmet when I worked nights so not an issue, but theres a few round here moaning about the light penetrating curtains.