PS-09-17: IES Position Statement – Background

NEW YORK, June 28, 2017 – Last year, the American Medical Association (AMA) announced a Policy that encourages restrictions on the spectral properties of outdoor area and roadway lighting, based on CSAPH Report 2-A-16 from their Council on Science and Public Health.  The IES reviewed the report and issued a statement that same month, emphasizing our intent to do a more thorough review of the report and to establish a dialog with the AMA.

After completing our review, we joined with the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) and approached the AMA about revisiting the report. A process was put in place to revisit the report with expanded expert input from our organizations, and we worked diligently on this effort for throughout the year. The effort remains a work in progress, but given the current uncertainty of a resolution, the IES Board of Directors issued Position Statement PS-09-17 in response to the AMA Policy and Report.

Our IES/IALD emphasis has been to work toward developing a collaborative process with the AMA Council for the benefit of our constituencies and the general public. Through our discussions with the AMA during this past year, we identified several significant issues within the CSAPH 2-A-16 Report that deserve more careful and comprehensive analysis, and our members have provided review and commentary. The AMA process unfortunately did not allow our organizations or our members to have direct dialog with the AMA Council. The CSAPH will continue deliberations on the topic, but our ability to participate directly in these deliberations remains questionable.

Our IES/IALD organizations have worked together to provide balance and accuracy to the AMA on this important topic. Our responsibility is to comprehensively review the AMA Policy within the context of the applications affected for the benefit of the public: the AMA has published a policy that affects roadway lighting, without including input from those with expertise in roadway lighting; and the AMA policy purports to be directed at health effects due to sleep disruption, but does not address the many various parameters and inputs known to have an equal or greater effect on sleep than spectrum or CCT. The AMA Policy encourages restrictions on spectral quality of light, absent any qualifications for light level or duration of exposure, and does not consider the possible positive aspects that spectral content might contribute to vehicular and pedestrian safety. These are positions that the IES Board of Directors enunciates in PS-09-17.

The IES is dedicated to continue working with the AMA on these issues. In 2012, the AMA adopted Policy H-135.932, noting in particular the “need for further multidisciplinary research of occupational and environmental exposure to light-at-night”, the recognition of how interior lighting and the use of electronic media affect sleep disruption especially in children and adolescents, and the need for work environments operating in 24/7 fashion to have employee fatigue risk management plans in place. We believe that these are critical topics to pursue with the AMA, and we hope that through this process of working through the issues with the 2016 AMA report, the IES can find common ground to address these very important concerns.