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Artificial Lighting and Our Health


Remember those big storms that left many of us in the dark for days and even weeks? We all went scrambling to power up our computers, recharge our smart phones, and grab a bite to eat in a warm and well-lit restaurant. The dark didn’t feel quite right.

But, maybe a little more dark is what we need.  

UConn researcher Richard Stevens is a cancer epidemiologist at UCONN Medical Center who studies the impact of artificial light on our health. He joined us on Where We Live five years ago, to talk about his research into the causes of a rise in breast cancer rates and said,

“About 20 years ago we started thinking about what else changes with industrialization. The lighting changes, people doing shift work, people not gettting enough dark.”

Now, more people are paying attention to his work.

The American Medical Association just called for more study into the possible link between the artificial light and a higher risk for cancer, obesity, and other conditions.

There’s also a new study from Ohio State University researchers who found that hamsters chronically exposed to light at night showed signs of depression within a few weeks.

Today, where we live, we’ll try to get out of the dark about the dangers of artificial light - from overhead fluorescents to reading your iPad right before bed, a look at what all this light is doing to our sleep and our health.

Do you stay up at night to watch television or surf the net?  Are you a night shift worker or a nightowl?