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News Press release

IDA Issues New Standards on Blue Light at Night

New rules strengthen IDA’s Fixture Seal of Approval program.

TUCSON, AZ 01 December 2014 — The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) is pleased to announce new requirements for its Fixture Seal of 
Approval (FSA) program of “dark sky friendly” light fixtures. Created nearly a decade ago, the FSA program is regarded by industry leaders as an essential certification for outdoor lighting and continues to evolve as new research and metrics become available.

The FSA program encourages lighting manufacturers to design responsible outdoor lighting. IDA-approved light fixtures have undergone an objective, third party assessment to ensure they are fully shielded and have minimal negative impacts on the night environment. The FSA logo assures consumers that they are purchasing environmentally friendly lighting. The new FSA program requirements were designed to provide even greater protection of the night environment.

Until now, FSA criteria only required fixtures to be fully shielded and emit light downward. The advent of new lighting technologies, particularly light-emitting diodes (LEDs), has raised concerns about the potential negative effects of blue-rich white light, even from fixtures with proper shielding.

Exposure to blue light at night has known negative effects on ecology and is thought to cause certain kinds of chronic disease in humans. It can increase glare compromising human vision, especially in the aging eye. The blue component of outdoor white LED lighting also increases light pollution more than older lighting technologies.

IDA warned of these hazards in its 2010 white paper, “Visibility, Environmental, and Astronomical Issues Associated with Blue-Rich White Outdoor Lighting.” Since the report was issued, evidence supporting its findings has continued to grow.

The FSA program’s new standards address these concerns by limiting the amount of blue-rich light in the nighttime environment. FSA approval now requires that products offer a listed correlated color temperature (CCT) configuration of 3000K or lower. Previously approved products will have one year to comply with the new standard. As new research emerges, IDA will continue to reassess FSA standards and expects to further strengthen the program guidelines in the future.

“IDA is working to drive the lighting industry toward limiting the amount of blue light at night,” said acting IDA Executive Director Scott Kardel. “We will be tightening the program requirements even further as time goes on.”

Since the program’s inception, the market for FSA-approved public and industrial lighting has grown exponentially. Manufacturers at industry trade shows display the FSA logo on many of their products. Builders, architects, and city planners who attend these shows can choose from a variety of dark sky-friendly products, including LEDs, induction lighting, and high-pressure sodium fixtures. Residential customers can now easily find FSA-approved lighting at major hardware retailers.

IDA has also been instrumental in driving product development for lighting in ecologically sensitive areas. As a result, many of these new technologies are now being introduced to the general marketplace. IDA is actively involved in developing lighting recommendations for sensitive coastal areas where significant populations of endangered sea turtles nest and hatch. In 2015 IDA will launch a new Sea Turtle Friendly product certification to complement the new FSA requirements.

Learn more at our FSA page.