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City urged to probe potential LED street lights risk
July 10, 2016
By Antonella Artuso

Toronto must evaluate any possible health problems caused by new LED street lights before moving ahead with a broad plan to install the technology across the city, Councillor Stephen Holyday insists.

Holyday is calling on council to ensure city officials meet with representatives from Toronto Public Health and Toronto Hydro to get a handle on the impact of LED lighting. He has submitted a notice of motion to this week’s council meeting.

As the Toronto Sun reported last week, the American Medical Association (AMA) has recommended against the use of cool, blue LED street lights, arguing they make it harder for drivers to see and also interfere with the sleep of nearby residents.

Toronto Hydro has installed 150 LED lights on six streets, with a Correlated Colour Temperature (CCT) of 4,000 kelvin - outside the range recommended by the AMA, which endorses a more yellow, warmer light.

Holyday said he would like to hear the opinion of city health officials on the issue, because much of the early discussion at City Hall about LED street lights has focused on energy and cost savings.

“I just want to ensure that we’ve got all of the right experts looking at this,” said Holyday, who had been approached by a constituent concerned about the lighting.

In 2015, the public works and infrastructure committee requested a report on lighting technologies.

“I think people need to understand that changing a street light isn’t like going to your hardware store and buying an after-market bulb and screwing it in,” Holyday said. “It’s a much more involved process, it’s an engineered process ... and consequently is a significant investment.

“And I think we need to be asking these questions before we make any decisions on investments.”