Legislation + Regulation, Light + Health

FDA Denies Soft Lights Petitions On LED Safety – What’s Next?

On May 24, 2024, the FDA denied all Soft Lights Foundation petitions to regulate LED products, in a letter. According to The Soft Lights Foundation website, “The decision by the FDA to not regulate LED products and to not collaborate with any other federal agency illegally pushes regulation of LED products onto state and local governments.”

As an indicator of where things may be heading next, Texas Public Radio reported a story about a Pennsylvania woman, Jamie Troese, who may be the first confirmed case of LED exposure causing non-epileptic seizures, in the country. Troese was EEG tested under medical supervision, in coordination with the Soft Lights Foundation. According to Troese, “My heart rate jumped to 160. I convulsed. I had the blinking reflex, my muscles spasmed. I was unable to respond to stimuli, so I couldn’t answer questions that they asked.” Troese was tested with an LED car headlight, which triggered her seizure. She had no reaction to other light sources.

LED impacts on a single person won’t lead to any regulatory action by FDA nor other agencies. In fact, lack of significant evidence was cited in FDA’s denial letter to the Soft Lights Foundation. However, if Soft Lights Foundation can identify and test significantly more people who have non-epileptic seizures in response to LED lights or headlights, it could lead to more serious research on the topic, and potentially other calls for regulatory action.

See also the recent LightNOW story about PNNL research into LED flicker (TLM) and the increased sensitivity of migraine sufferers to negative effects from LED flicker. The story mentions a recent PNNL publication on automotive headlight flicker published as an SAE technical paper.

 

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David Shiller
David Shiller is the Publisher of LightNOW, and President of Lighting Solution Development, a North American consulting firm providing business development services to advanced lighting manufacturers. The ALA awarded David the Pillar of the Industry Award. David has co-chaired ALA’s Engineering Committee since 2010. David established MaxLite’s OEM component sales into a multi-million dollar division. He invented GU24 lamps while leading ENERGY STAR lighting programs for the US EPA. David has been published in leading lighting publications, including LD+A, enLIGHTenment Magazine, LEDs Magazine, and more.

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