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Proceedings Paper

Biological Effects Of Artificial Illumination
Author(s): Richard Corth
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Paper Abstract

We are increasingly being warned of the possible effects of so called "polluted" light, that is light that differs in spectral content from that of sunlight. We should be concerned, we are told, because all animals and plants have evolved under this natural daylight and therefore any difference between that illuminant and the artificial illuminants that are on the market today, is suspect. The usual presentation of the differences between the sunlight and the artificial illuminants are as shown in Figure 1. Here we are shown the spectral power distribution of sunlight and Cool White fluorescent light. The spectral power distributions of each have been normalized to some convenient wavelength so that each can be seen and easily compared on the same figure. But this presentation is misleading for one does not experience artificial illuminants at the same intensity as one experiences sunlight. Sunlight intensities are ordinarily found to be in the 8000 to 10,000 footcandle range whereas artificial illuminants are rarely experienced at intensity levels greater than 100 footcandles. Therefore a representative difference between the two types of illumination conditions is more accurately represented as in Figure 2. Thus if evolutionary adaptations require that humans and other animals be exposed to sunlight to ensure wellbeing, it is clear that one must be exposed to sunlight intensities. It is not feasible to expect that artificially illuminated environments will be lit to the same intensity as sunlight

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 October 1980
PDF: 4 pages
Proc. SPIE 0229, Ocular Effects of Non-Ionizing Radiation, (7 October 1980); doi: 10.1117/12.958781
Show Author Affiliations
Richard Corth, Westinghouse Electric Corporation (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0229:
Ocular Effects of Non-Ionizing Radiation
David H. Sliney; Myron Lee Wolbarsht, Editor(s)

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