Are LED Grow Lights Harmful to Humans? An In-depth Exploration

LED grow light technology has tremendously benefitted the indoor plant processes,  and any contemporary grower would hardly put a lot of thought into the details of whether these lights are worth an investment.

They’re all confident that through these lights, they can mimic the sunlight with ideal light spectrums of all wavelengths, according to the different plant growth stages.

But a general question of safety is, “ Are these LED grow lights harmful to humans”?

The reality is, they generally don’t, though there are situations when it could pose a health hazard, but as long as you’re in a safe zone, it won’t harm you, so no worries!

However, If you're an owner of a small indoor garden or run a large commercial growing setting, it's essential for you to understand that bringing the sun indoors (so to speak) can potentially affect you just as it does your crop, so you've to be smart enough and plan if you or your employees spend much of time in grow spaces with LED grow lights.

To make the most of this growing technology, this blog has pulled out all the relevant details for your knowledge.

Understanding LED Grow Lights:

What Are LED Grow Lights?

LED, or Light-emitting diodes, are devices that produce light in a similar spectrum as sunlight. Essentially, these lighting systems mimic natural sunlight to restore photosynthesis.

They’re called LEDs because they are luminaries that use LED chips in a modern and efficient way to produce light for growing indoor plants.

This incredible feat of technology from Phlizonstore emits pleasing quality and high light output in a specific range that allows you to optimize them for plants’ growth cycle.

LED grow lights are amazingly efficient, discharge minimal heat energy, and use low amounts of electricity. These lights employ advanced optics, thermal management engineering, and precise spectral outputs to convert nearly all of the consumed power into growth-targeted light energy.

It is used in some of the most cutting-edge operations for commercial growing and hobbyist gardens.

Different LED grow lights have different color temperatures, intensities, and spectral outputs, so getting the right kind for specific crops and growth stages is essential.

What are the Different Types of LEDs: Red/Blue or Full Spectrum?

The red/blue spectrum or pinkish purple LED luminaires are targeted, or simply narrow-band spectrum LED lights because their wavelengths are within the 450-750nm range.

They’re considered more of a horticulture lighting since photosynthesis occurs in red and blue wavelengths. This makes sense to put in when greenhouse growers are already receiving the full spectrum of light from the sun.

Since red and blue lights have major contributions to plant development, considering one alone only would result in poor growth, such as irregular shapes or very elongated stems

Red is most efficient for seed germination, healthy root growth, and flower development, while blue light stimulates the formation of chlorophyll, so a combination of both has proven to be optimum for producing greenhouse crops already receiving light from the sun. 

These lights seem to save a lot on your cost and enhance production because blue and red LEDs have the highest photon efficacy as opposed to other colors, i.e., they convert the highest electricity rate in photons, so you're getting more growth from your plants per dollar spent.

On the other hand, full-spectrum LED  grow lights is similar to natural daylight, falls between the entire 400-700nm wavelength, and is commonly referred to as PAR, or Photosynthetically Active Radiation.

Due to the conversion, energy, and optical losses within the phosphor conversion process, white LEDs have lower efficacy than red/blue. However, in indoor gardening applications, these white LED luminaires are far more efficient as they emit a wide range of wavelengths for your crop throughout the different growth stages.

In order to find the best spectrum, studies prove that the ideal one doesn’t exist. It depends upon your application, plant characteristics, and the goals you want to achieve. Since various light spectrums can manipulate growth characteristics, you need to know what growth characteristics are most important to you.

The best way to find out how your plant will respond is to arrange a trial area to test how different plant species will act. Good luck!

What Are the Benefits of LED Grow Lights?

LED plant grow lights have become popular among growers for many good reasons — they offer many benefits that other lighting systems generally don’t.

Older grow light fixtures such as HPS and fluorescent bulbs were creating problematic by-products by consuming excessive heat, energy, and spectrum emissions.

Growers of that time were forced to invest in costly ventilation systems, and they needed to let these lights dictate growth.  

This remains not an issue when LED light technology has developed with the same ingenuity.

LED Grow Lights such as Phlizonstore PH-series aimed to optimize spectrum and coverage while reducing wasted energy and dangerous heat. These lights meet the crop needs, not the other way around.

LED grow light only consumes one-third of the electricity converting it to light nearly 3x better than HPS equivalents.

It's an excellent choice for extensive gardens needing more grow lights. This way, you will save a lot on electricity because LED lights aren't power-hungry at all. Additionally, the bulbs don't require frequent changing, so you'll save more money on maintenance as well.

These fixtures have been designed to emit the necessary spectrum for ideal plant absorption rather than untargeted wavelengths common in HPS.

Nearly every grower who recommends using LEDs for growing plants will appreciate the overall efficiency obtained from such a lighting system. LEDs are, in fact, way more optimized than HID lights, which translates to lower utility costs for you.

Potential Concerns with LED Grow Lights

What is UV Radiation?

UV, an acronym for Ultra Violent rays, is a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum extending to the Violet zone, measuring a 100-400nm wavelength. They’re invisible to the human eye and carry harmful rays that may have hazardous effects on humans.

High-temperature surfaces, such as the Sun, produce ultraviolet radiation. ultraviolet radiation based on their interaction of wavelengths with biological materials, three categories are devised: UVA (400–315 nm), also called black light; UVB (315–280 nm), responsible for the radiation’s best-known effects on organisms; and UVC (280–100 nm), which does not reach Earth’s surface.

However, shorter wavelength UV radiation is intense and can cause severe health issues, in small amounts, their exposure benefits both humans and plants, stimulating vitamin D production in people and robust growth in plants.

UV light is a powerful source for achieving high potency in your crop. UVB-type rays let your plants produce more resin and oil to protect themselves, ultimately yielding a great product.

Do LED Grow Lights Emit UV Radiations?

Yes, modern research has verified the presence of UV rays and optical radiation from LEDs.

But they’re significantly less, almost to the amount of no harm effects.

Those who put UV diodes to intensify the light are exceptions to this case, where you may need to add enough wattage to be of concern.

Generally speaking, LED grow lights emit negligible UV-A light in the upper end of the range (380 nm - 400 nm).

Since LED Grow lights imitate the Sun, plants often need a full light spectrum at various stages of development. This means you’re still exposed to blue lights ( the harmful rays) if in case the UV rays are not harming you.

Therefore, safe preventive steps must be given priority while working inside your grow rooms.

What Are The Effects Of UV Radiation On Human Skin And Eyes?

UV radiation has complex and mixed effects on human health as it restores the natural synthesis of vitamin D and endorphins into the skin, however, excessive exposure to UV carries profound health risks such as skin cancer, eye blindness, and immune system suppression.

Excessive exposure to UV lights potentially causes Sunburn as a sign of a short-term reaction, while premature aging and skin damage are side effects of prolonged UV exposure. UV radiation is the most occurring modifiable risk factor for environmentally influenced skin disorders, making the skin become thick, wrinkled, and leathery.

So far, Research has validated the concern of UV rays as linked to increased eye disease known as cataracts- a form of eye damage in which you lose clear vision. Although it's curable with modern eye surgery, cataracts diminish the eyesight of millions of people and add billions of dollars expense in medical care each year.

Medical experts have found that overexposure to UV radiation may affect the proper functioning of the body's immune system and the skin's natural defensive mechanism.

What are Blue Lights Hazards, The Science behind It & Its Harmful Effects on Eyes?

 

Blue light is one energy-rich portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, which lies in the wavelength range between 380 and 500 nanometers. So, generally, it falls within the visible part of the spectrum to which we’re exposed every day.

Blue light is present everywhere – both in the natural light generated by the sun and in the artificial light emitted by LEDs.

It has relatively high energy and has pronounced effects on plant growth and flowering. In essence, blue light acts as a growth regulator. Blue light is considered equally effective as green or red light at driving photosynthesis. While it may appear somewhat dim to us, it has high energy and is helpful for plants' growth and development.

Blue Light has the shortest wavelength, which means it also has the driving force to cause the most harm. Excessive blue light exposure has been associated with an increased risk of damaged cells and the potential for macular degeneration, essentially vision loss.

Obviously, it doesn't mean that using grow lights will make you blind. It clearly means you need to take precautions with protective measures.

 

How Flicker And Glare Can Affect Human Health And Measures To Reduce These Effects?

Regular exposure to flickering lights leads to symptoms of eye movement dysfunction, double vision, headache, and fatigue, among other health complications.

Recent studies also added that flickering lights impact productivity, focus, comfort, and even our emotional well-being.

With Prolonged Exposures to flickering, you can fall prey to consistent headaches and migraines, even bringing on seizures in non-epileptics as well.

So flickering and glare can easily be remedied by replacing or upgrading the bulb, fixture, or dimmer switch. These LEDs, for example, are more likely to contain high-quality components and circuits and are less likely to flicker as a result.

Safety Precautions When Using LED Grow Lights

You must have put a lot of your efforts into arranging LED lights for your indoor growing setup. The same effort is requested from you in terms of taking safety measures. Obviously, LED lights would yield fruitful plant growth, but taking care of your safety together will let you reap those results.

Here are a few precautions

 The first safety concern is to turn off the power supply before you install the fixture.

 Wear Eyeglasses to mitigate the harmful LED rays. This means specific grow glasses that are built for this purpose. Obviously, regular sunglasses would protect you from toxic rays, but they could possibly block the clear view of your crop and make it difficult for you to detect problems.

 It’s always advisable to Hang lights at a safe distance, at least 8 feet off the ground and at least 3 feet between yourself and any UV-emitting light fixture.

 While in the grow room, always ensure you’re completely covered. Use protective clothes, gloves, or covers, and work with as little skin exposed as possible.

 Limiting exposure to these lights is another significant step to protect yourself from potential dangers.

 When you change lamps or perform other maintenance, always be sure that the electric circuits are completely powered off.

 

 

 

Comparing LED Grow Lights to Other Light Sources

Traditional Fluorescent Lights versus LEDs

Fluorescent lights are a type of glass tube that contains a low-pressure inert mercury vapor gas. When an electrical current is passed through, the mercury content produces ultraviolet energy, which causes the phosphor coating in the tube to glow, producing visible light.

Nowadays, these lights have lost their value soon after the LED lights have successfully made their move. Traditional Fluorescent lamps have been experiencing a widespread phase-out since individuals, companies, and agencies are more concerned about conserving energy and environmental protection.

The reason for its disapproval is linked to its inferior ability to conserve energy, highly toxic mercury elements, 3-5 years shorter lifespan, and non-recyclable substance.

If you’re concerned about which one to pick, keep in mind that LEDs are a go-to-option.  Upon comparing the two, you’ll be surprised that high-quality LEDs outperform in all these aspects- they use far less power to provide a strong and consistent output at a lower wattage, and they have a lifespan of about 50,000 hours. Also, They maintain their brightness as they age, so they won’t ever dim. They offer 80% efficiency and less harmful rays as an added benefit.

 

High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Lights versus LEDs

High-Intensity Discharge (HID) is a cost-efficient light source that aids in growing and cultivating plants, especially hydroponic marijuana. They are literally tubes filled with gas with electrodes on either end. A bright light is produced when electricity jumps from one electrode to another and reacts with the gas.

Although the HID grow lights are considerably cheaper than LED lights, they still produce higher light output and brightness. These lights offer a natural, warm, sun-like quality that has the potential to outperform pinpointed wavelengths.

While searching for these lights, you’ll probably find the two forms of HID lights: Metal Halide (MH) and High-Pressure Sodium (HPS).

Metal Halide lights create a blueish spectrum of light that’s best to use during the early vegetative stage of a plant’s growth cycle. When MH lights are used as a primary light source in an indoor setting with no natural light, they encourage excellent leafy green plant growth, stems, branches, and leaves.

High-pressure sodium bulbs create a more yellow-gold color that’s optimal for the reproduction or the flowering stage. This orange-to-red light spectrum is well-suited for triggering hormones in plants, which increases the budding/flowering of marijuana.

To find the difference between the two is to understand that LED light shifts color depending on which diodes are illuminated, but HIDs can only produce one color. The type of gas inside determines the light spectrum a bulb generates. You must have to physically change the bulb to switch from a vegetative or full-spectrum light to a bloom configuration.

 

Natural Sunlight versus LEDs

Natural sunlight contains all of the colors of the electromagnetic spectrum, visibly creating white light. This is a little cooler than the artificial light of most incandescent bulbs.

When comparing the natural light source with artificially created LEDs, you’ll notice that LED offers a customizable light duration.

We all see that the availability of Sunlight is guided by geographical and seasonal factors. Even in equatorial regions, where sunlight is abundant, the natural light is typically available for only 10-12 hours a day. As you move towards the poles, that number decreases substantially. Plant growth virtually comes to a standstill at night due to the lack of light.

Whereas LED grow lights offer you unprecedented control over the light exposure for your plants around the clock. This 24/7 illumination considerably speeds up the whole stages of plant growth, making LED grow lights a compelling choice for those looking to optimize growth cycles.

The Verdict: Are LED Grow Lights Safe for Humans?

LED grow lights have been at the forefront of lighting technology, and they’re more often praised for their energy efficiency, cost savings, and high performance.

Lately, there has been some buzz about their reported drawback to human health.

The bottom line is that Phlizonstore LED grow lights are no more dangerous than other lighting technologies, as far as you're concerned about your safety precautions.

In fact, HPS is much more harmful than LEDs – as they may trigger the risk of broken bulbs and fires, high heat and risk of burns, high environmental damage due to mercury content, and high carbon footprint.

To put it short, lights with shorter wavelengths tend to have greater risk. Infrared light has the longest wavelength on the visible light spectrum, so do the reds, oranges, and yellows, so actually, they don't harm you. It's the culprit blue and UV light—the shorter wavelengths—that can pose severe skin and eye damage.

So, Wearing eye-protective glasses, avoiding prolonged direct viewing of bright light sources, especially at short distances, and knowing the risk of each light spectrum would definitely help you gain LED light effectiveness.

 

Recommendations For Those Considering Using LED Grow Lights

 

LEDs are rated to shine in the indoor planting environment. If you’re likely to invest in them, take these recommendations to optimize their usage.

 

 To determine the exact directions and specifications of the grow lights in a space, take expert consultation.

 Adjust the growth light placement as crops grow and mature to maintain proper distance.

 Arrange LEDs over plant beds or pots for hanging plants so all sides and leaves are exposed to artificial light.

 If you're using LEDs, you can place the grow lights at least 6 to 12 inches away from plants.

 Generally, if you're growing flowering plants and vegetables, grow lights should be turned on for 12 to 16 hours.

 Plants reaching different heights demand different sets of lights. Turning them off occasionally is a good practice to avoid damaging the bulbs.

 Darkness is also essential to a plant's growth cycle, so give them at least 8 hours of darkness per day.

 

 

 

Conclusion

Now that you’ve gained so much knowledge of the LED system, you can confidently tell that the LED system is the best choice for indoor growing with some definite advantages.

Once you determine the optimum use of the light spectrum for each plant growth stage, these LEDs are worth every penny to pursue your indoor gardening passion.

A combination of red/blue and full spectrum can yield profitable outcomes in the form of healthy, green planting.

Often sometimes, the UV diodes may cause potential harm to your eyes and skin, but with safety measures, you can mitigate that effect too.

Many growers are turned off by the high upfront costs associated with LED lights. At a glance, it may involve a huge investment, but a little bit of math reveals that you’ll actually save money in the long run when you go with LEDs because of their high efficiency and electrical cost savings.

 

 

Leave a comment

Related Posts

Understanding White Spots on Plant Leaves and Learning How to Treat It
Understanding White Spots on Plant Leaves  and Learning How to Treat It

Understanding White Spots on Plant Leaves and Learning How to Treat It

Unveiling the Magic of Heat Mats: A Comprehensive Guide
Unveiling the Magic of Heat Mats: A Comprehensive Guide

Unveiling the Magic of Heat Mats: A Comprehensive Guide

Why Tomato Leaves Turn Yellow and How to Fix It
Why Tomato Leaves Turn Yellow and How to Fix It

Why Tomato Leaves Turn Yellow and How to Fix It

Ultimate Guide: Heat Mats for Seeds Starting
Ultimate Guide: Heat Mats for Seeds Starting

Ultimate Guide: Heat Mats for Seeds Starting

How Many LED Grow Lights You Should Use for Your Indoor Plants
How Many LED Grow Lights You Should Use for Your Indoor Plants

How Many LED Grow Lights You Should Use for Your Indoor Plants

The Ultimate Guide to Choose the Grow Tent
led grow light

The Ultimate Guide to Choose the Grow Tent

How to Choose the Best LED Grow Light Based on Spectrum
How to Choose the Best LED Grow Light Based on Spectrum

How to Choose the Best LED Grow Light Based on Spectrum

10 Surprising Benefits of Using LED Grow Lights for Indoor Horticulture
10 Surprising Benefits of Using LED Grow Lights for Indoor Horticulture

10 Surprising Benefits of Using LED Grow Lights for Indoor Horticulture

Maximizing Growth with LED Grow Light Mushroom
Maximizing Growth with LED Grow Light Mushroom

Maximizing Growth with LED Grow Light Mushroom

Maximizing Tomato Growth with LED Grow Lights
Maximizing Tomato Growth with LED Grow Lights

Maximizing Tomato Growth with LED Grow Lights

Comprehensive Guide: LED Grow Lights for Indoor Succulent Plants
Comprehensive Guide: LED Grow Lights for Indoor Succulent Plants

Comprehensive Guide: LED Grow Lights for Indoor Succulent Plants

What is the Best LED Light Spectrum for Plant Growth?
What is the Best LED Light Spectrum for Plant Growth?

What is the Best LED Light Spectrum for Plant Growth?