The Search for Safer Lighting: Nighttime Lighting Impacting Health & Environment

by Project Censored
Published: Last Updated on

The technological advancement of artificial nighttime lighting is creating harmful effects on human health and the environment.  Recent scientific studies show how the glare in the sky (light pollution) emits carbon dioxide and interferes with a nitrate radical that normally during the night… breaks down airborne chemicals that lead to smog and ozone.

This cleansing normally occurs in the hours of darkness because the radical is destroyed by sunlight; it only shows up at night. Nighttime lighting suppresses this radical and causes an increase in the chemicals that support ozone pollution.

Nighttime lighting alters the natural night-day light cycle and effects the health of ecosystems. Light pollution interferes with the sea turtles’ navigation to and from their nesting areas on a Florida coast, and is one of the key drivers in the decline of nocturnal pollinators and light-sensitive species.  In humans, artificial nighttime lighting induces negative psycho-physiological consequences by interfering with sleep, elevating the stress response, and impacting job performance, fitness, and morality.



“The Dark Side of Light: A Transdisciplinary Research Agenda for Light Pollution Policy.”, Hölker, F., T. Moss, B. Griefahn, W. Kloas, C. C. Voigt, D. Henckel, A. Hänel, P. M. Kappeler, S. Völker, A. Schwope, S. Franke, D. Uhrlandt, J. Fischer, R. Klenke, C. Wolter, and K. Tockner, Ecology and Society, 2010.


“City Lighting ‘Boosts Pollution’”

Jonathan Amos, Science Correspondent

BBC News, San Francisco, December 14, 2010

Student Researcher: Lauren Dizon, San Francisco State University

Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows, San Francisco State University