A study from the University of Exeter and Barcelona Institute for Global Health finds blue light exposure at night-time to increase the risk of breast and prostate cancer.
Blue light is emitted from artificial lighting, such as LED’s and smart devices, and has been linked in the past to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Why? Scientists believe the blue wavelengths in the light disrupt our circadian rhythm, or our body’s biological clock, by suppressing the secretion of melatonin. Poor sleep, and unpredictable body cycles, can affect our metabolism, hence our weight, diabetes risk and cancer risk.
In this study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers reviewed data of more than 4000 patients, between the ages of 20 and 85, from 11 different geographical regions. They found exposure to blue light at night doubled the risk of prostate cancer in men, and increased breast cancer risk in women by 1.5.
The Sun reports study author Dr. Alejandro Sánchez de Miguel is urging to reduce exposure to outside street lights and use orange wavelength light rather than blue.
“The take-home message is: Use warm orange lights where possible, and shutters and blinds to block street light.
“Also, our findings suggest reducing your night-time exposure to smartphones and tablets could help cut cancer risk.
How to minimize blue light exposure
Screen time should therefore be limited in the evenings. Avoid computer/phone screens at least 2-3 hours before bed.
Although LED light bulbs are more energy-efficient, bedroom lighting may need to be swapped for softer bulbs.
If the weather permits, getting some night air and watching the stars may help stimulate one’s melatonin, allowing him/her to get sleepy.
Blue-blocking glasses may help limit exposure if night computer work cannot be avoided.
Additionally there are apps that allow a blue light filter on one’s phone screen.
This is a developing story.