Are LED Grow Lights safe? The short answer is yes, although, there are occasions when it could pose a health hazard. We will discuss the rare times when LED grow lights could harm you and how to prevent it from happening.
Are Led Grow Lights Bad For Your Eyes?
LED Grow Lights with a lot of blue and UV diodes can be harmful. The same goes for all-white lights that emit a cooler white light (5000 Kelvin and higher). The type and amount of harm an LED grow light can cause depends on the color and the intensity. Any powerful light can hurt our eyes if we stare directly at it, but that is an easy enough thing to avoid. Just don't stare directly into your LED grow lights.
A good example would be staring at a light in you're house. A brief glance may cause odd patterns in your vision as you blink. Stare for a long time, and it could damage your eyes. The same is true for LED grow lights.
At the same time, having an LED grow light to close to you're plants can burn them too. Always research and have the LED grow lights at the right distance from the plants to avoid this. Learn how you can prevent you're plants from getting light burn here.
Most wavelengths though are not harmful. However, LED grow lights that emit ultraviolet light and blue light can be harmful to your eyes. Our cornea does not do a good job of blocking blue light, meaning almost all of the blue light that hits our eyes penetrates all the way through to the retina.
The Potential Dangers Of Blue Light
Blue light can also interfere with your sleep. Blue light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, which regulates your sleep cycle. This is why you’ve been warned against watching TV or scrolling through your phone right before bed. Over-exposure to blue light throws your hormones out of balance and makes it difficult to get the rest you need.
Too much blue light has been proven to damage light sensitive cells on the retina. This brings about changes that are similar to macular degeneration, which can result in permanent vision loss.
This is obviously an extreme case and would require a lot of blue light exposure. The research so far is limited and we lack a good understanding of the long-term effects of too much blue light, and even how much blue light is too much. Nevertheless, it makes sense to be cautious and take steps to protect you're eyes.
One way to protect yourself is to minimize the time spent under LED grow lights. Another is to wear protective glasses when under the lights or working around them. Yet another layer of protection is to keep the LED grow lights inside of a grow tent that seal in the light.
RELATED POST: 8 Grow Tent Essentials You Need To Own
How UV Light Affects You're Eyes
Too much UV Light can cause varying degrees of skin damage, from premature aging, to sunburn, to cancer. It also causes damage to our vision and that is what most concerning to us here.
We now know that both UV-A and UV-B light can damage our eyes and that blue light can result in negative effects as well. Whether we need to worry depends on the level of exposure. Just don't lay under you're LED grow light for hours at a time and you'll be fine.
How To Prevent The Damage
If you just have a small LED grow light and you don't spend much time beneath the lights, you don't have to worry. The UV levels are not high enough to cause damage with such minimal exposure. However, if you have powerful lights and you spend a lot of time working beneath them, I highly recommend you get some from of eye protection.
Although, the best way to prevent LED grow lights from damaging you're eyes is to just not look directly at them. Make sure you also have a high quality LED Grow Light to prevent unnecessary dangers from harming you.
Do LED Grow Lights Contain Hazardous Materials?
Manufacturers of LED grow lights are under obligation to design lighting systems with no lead, mercury or other harmful substances. LED Grow Lights are both environmentally friendly and recyclable, and they don’t create a health hazard for the owner. LED arrays consisting of bulbs encased in chips are almost impossible to break.
Are LED Grow Lights A Fire Hazard?
LED Grow Lights do not produce enough heat to cause a fire. Most modern drivers (Like MeanWell) have some sort of mechanism that prevents these things from happening.
Can LED Grow Lights Cause Cancer?
Even though LED Grow lights do contain UV light, which is known to cause skin cancer. This is not something you have to worry about with LED Grow Lights, as they do not contain high enough levels of UV light to cause skin cancer.
Fortunately, prevention of all these potential injuries is fairly simple. You just have to follow a few precautions. Overall LED grow lights are much safer than tradition lighting systems like fluorescents and HID Lights which contain fairly high amounts of mercury. Which could contaminate you're growing area and plants.