Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Downcast lights can be safe


In reply to concerns voiced about Hailey streetlights, I agree that safety is the primary concern. If the city determines that the crosswalks are too dim, the solution is to raise the pole height and increase the lamp wattages. The key is to use the same type of full-cutoff lamps that shine the light downward, not sideways or upwards. The old drop-lens cobra heads produced unsafe glare, light trespass and sky glow.

Adding more light is not a problem as long as it is the right kind of light. The best examples are the 250-watt high-pressure sodium lights at Highway 75 and Bullion Street. Lower wattage, 150-watt HPS full-cutoff lamps would work at the minor intersections with state Highway 75.

This summer the American Medical Association recognized the link between human eye exposure between 2 and 4 a.m., lower melatonin levels and breast cancer. Graveyard-shift workers have higher rates of breast cancer. The World Health Organization listed shift work that interferes with circadian rhythms a "probable carcinogen." The AMA also called for the control of light pollution, recognizing that stray, non-targeted light wastes energy.

Steve Pauley

Ketchum




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