AMA – Reports of the Council on Science and Public Health
LIGHT POLLUTION: ADVERSE HEALTH EFFECTS OF NIGHTTIME LIGHTING
HOUSE ACTION: RECOMMENDATIONS ADOPTED AS FOLLOWS AND
Current AMA Policy H-135.937 (AMA Policy Database) advocates for light pollution control and reduced glare from (electric) artificial light sources to both protect public safety and conserve energy. Lighting the night has become a necessity in many areas of the world to enhance commerce, promote social activity, and enhance public safety. However, an emerging consensus has come to acknowledge the effects of widespread nighttime artificial lighting, including the:
- impact of artificial lighting on human health, primarily through disruption of circadian biological rhythms or sleep;
- intersection of ocular physiology, vehicle headlamps, nighttime lighting schemes, and harmful glare;
- energy cost of wasted and unnecessary electric light;
- impact of novel light at night on wildlife and vegetation.
In addition to these health and environmental effects, an esthetic deficit is apparent with the progressive loss of the starry night sky and interference with astronomical observations.
24 Hours Circadian Biological Rhythm is in Virtually All Life Forms
The solar cycle of light and dark provides the essential basis for life on Earth. Adaptation to the solar cycle has resulted in fundamental molecular and genetic endogenous processes in virtually all life forms that are aligned with an approximately 24-hour period (circadian biological rhythm). The circadian genetic clock mechanism is intimately involved in many, if not most, facets of cellular and organismal function. 1 Although the circadian system spontaneously generates near-24-hour rhythms, this master clock must be reset daily by the light-dark cycle to maintain proper temporal alignment with the environment.