Researchers recommend steps to reduce ‘blue light’ exposure

May 9, 2012

Boston – Nighttime exposure to the blue light from electronic devices may harm workers’ health, warns the May 4 Harvard Health Letter.

The blue light emitted by electronic screens and energy-efficient light bulbs disrupts the body’s biological clock, or circadian rhythms, according to the letter. Studies have linked circadian disruptions to health issues such as obesity and cancer.

The letter cites Harvard research indicating blue light suppresses secretion of melatonin and shifts circadian rhythms twice as much as green light. Also, a study from the University of Toronto found that melatonin levels were about the same in people who wore blue light-blocking goggles while working in bright indoor lights as people exposed to regular dim light without the goggles. The finding suggests shift workers could protect themselves by wearing eyewear that blocks blue light, the letter stated.

Another recommendation was to coat the inside of fluorescent light bulbs so they produce less blue light.