Light Pollution is Explored in New Segments by "Leading Edge" With Host Jimmy Johnson

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The prevalence of light may cause detrimental effects.

Many people have noticed how birds fly into buildings. What many may not know, however, is that one of the reasons for this is that bright lights can disorient and distract birds, diverting them from their course and can even make them fly into structures in an irrational way.

Organizations worldwide are being established to address the prevalence of light pollution, which has exponentially grown in the last two decades. Their respective missions are designed to educate the public, government officials and the building industry on how to reduce adverse impacts on wildlife through effective technology and methodology. A major goal of this program is to identify lighting fixtures appropriate for use at locations where wildlife is being adversely affected by light pollution.

But this issue not only affects animals, physicians have pointed out that while many of us are well aware of problems such as energy waste, environmental impact, and urban light pollution, most of us are oblivious to the effects of light pollution. There is currently a growing body of research focusing on health effects in humans.

Energy wasted through excessive lighting is typically fueled by fossil fuel consumption. This can cause air pollution that could potentially lead to respiratory problems, lung cancer, asthma and other diseases. To mitigate such health risks, the American Medical Association adopted a 2009 resolution recommending that all public street lighting be shielded.

The "Leading Edge" series with host Jimmy Johnson is teaming with specialists to investigate and educate on this issue. Through their segments on Public Television, more can be learned about light pollution and how it may be handled in the future.

PBS is not affiliated with "Leading Edge." The series is directly distributed to Public Television stations nationwide. Visit the Leading Edge site at or email the producers at info(at)leadingedgeseries(dot)com for more information.

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Matt Aaron
Leading Edge
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