Are LED grow lights harmful to our eyes?
There is no question that any grow light can cause harm to your plants if used improperly. As a grower, you’ve likely put a lot of thought into details like hanging distance, supplemental cooling, and hydration, all to be certain your lights are helping your plants thrive, rather than damaging them or wearing them down.
But what about humans? Whether you have a small home grow or run a large commercial operation, it’s important to understand how your lights could pose certain risks to you or your employees. The LED lights are very concentrated and can damage your eyes. This is truer than ever with today’s high power LEDs. Never look directly into LEDs and wear sunglasses.
The bottom line is that LED grow lights are no more dangerous than any other type of grow light. HPS is much more dangerous than LEDs – high heat and risk of burns, risk of broken bulbs and fires, high environmental damage due to mercury content, high carbon footprint. This has been studied and proven by CELMA, the Federation of National Manufacturers Association for Luminaires and Electrotechnical Components for Luminaires in the European Union.
However, as with any grow light, it’s important to understand what health risks do come with using LED grow lights so you can protect yourself accordingly. With the proper precautions, you have nothing to worry about.
Do LED grow lights contain hazardous materials?
One common LED myth is that these grow lights contain dangerous heavy metals such as mercury. While this is incorrect, it is a myth based on a former truth.
With the advancement of LED technology, neither of these things are true today. Nowadays, diodes emit light directly and they don’t contain mercury. Nothing to worry about.
Are led grow lights harmful to human eyes?
There are several factors that affect the safety of any grow lights: intensity, wavelength and duration. Intense lights will always damage your eyes, regardless of what wavelength that the lights release and the duration. Intense lights can cause burns on the skin, and a “sunburn” on the retinas will interfere with your ability to see.
A good example would be staring at the bright light in your lamp. 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 of any bright light, LED or conventional. At the same time, very bright lights too close to the plants could “sunburn” them, too. Have the lights at the right distance from the plants to avoid this.
Most wavelengths are not harmful. However, LED grow lights that put out ultraviolet light are harmful to your eyes. This includes but isn’t limited to fluorescent LED grow lights, HPS grow lights and metal halide grow lights. Any blue light could emit ultraviolet light. You can tell if the UV output is high if you’re getting a tan while working under your grow lights. On the flipside, pure red lights aren’t harmful unless at a very high intensity.
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 grow lights inside of grow tents that seal in the light.
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LED Grow Light Safety
Fortunately, prevention of all these potential injuries is fairly simple. You don’t have to choose between the benefits of LED grow lights and your own safety. You just have to follow a few precautions.
- Wear protective glasses designed for use with LED lights. Sunglasses will protect your eyes from harmful rays, but they’ll give you a discolored view of your crop, making it harder to detect problems. Grow glasses allow you to view your plants naturally.
- Hang lights at least 8 feet off the ground and try to keep a distance of at least 3 feet between yourself and any UV-emitting light fixture. This is often not possible in a grow tent.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and work with as little skin exposed as possible.
- If you have employees, share these safety tips with them and put up signs to warn of UVA and UVB exposure.
- Use an LED grow light with a view mode in natural white.
You put a lot of thought into creating a grow system that’s safe and healthy for your plants. Do the same for yourself.
And don’t hesitate to seek out your light manufacturer’s guidance and input on risks associated with your LED grow lights. At Seedz Lighting, we’re always eager to help growers ensure the safest operation possible. If you have any questions about our lights, please reach out.