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‘Blue light’ from LEDs may trigger breast, prostate cancer

London, April 28: Reigniting the debate over exposure to the “blue light” emitted by outdoor LED screens and heightened risk of cancer, an international team of researchers have concluded that there is a “strong link” between the two. To reach this conclusion, the researchers from University of Exeter in Britain and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) determined indoor exposure to artificial light through personal questionnaires. The outdoor levels of artificial light, such as emitted by street lights, were evaluated for Madrid and Barcelona, based on nocturnal images taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The study included medical and epidemiological data of more than 4,000 people between 20 and 85 years of age in 11 Spanish regions. Results obtained for both cities show that participants exposed to higher levels of blue light had a 1.5 and two-fold higher risk of developing breast and prostate cancer, respectively, as compared to the less-exposed population.

The findings found that the “blue light” emitted by LED lights seems to affect circadian rhythms and sleeping patterns, which then impacts hormone levels. Both breast and prostate cancers are hormone-related. The World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified night shift work as probably carcinogenic to humans. There is evidence pointing to an association between exposure to artificial light at night, disruption of the circadian rhythm, and breast and prostate cancers. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita