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    Op-Ed: LED Streetlights Lack FDA Approval

    The following letter from Soft Lights Foundation was emailed to the City of Goleta on July 12 and copied to Goleta Voice:

    Dear City Clerk and City Attorney, Goleta, California,

    Please find attached our public comments regarding LED streetlights which have not been FDA approved. Please forward to the city council.


    An LED streetlight is an electronic product which is regulated by the US Food and Drug
    Administration. The FDA presentation “How to Get Your Electronic Product on the U.S. Market” details the authority of the FDA to regulate the radiation from electronic products and the requirements of manufacturers to receive FDA approval for their electronic products that emit radiation.

    The city of Goleta, California has installed or is considering installing LED streetlights. However, the FDA has not approved any LED streetlight products to ensure the comfort, health, and safety of the public. The FDA is mandated by the 1968 Radiation Control for Health and Safety Act (21 U.S.C. 360ii) to publish performance standards for electronic products that emit radiation, and yet the FDA has failed to comply with 21 U.S.C. 360ii for LED products, including LED streetlights.

    LED streetlights are a human health hazard which have been documented to cause seizures, migraines, anxiety, nausea, eye pain, and eye injury. In addition, artificial light at night has been documented to cause significant increases in risk for mood disorders, diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, and early mortality. It is likely that LED streetlights have increased acts of misbehavior and violence. The contact person at the FDA is Robert Ochs, Director, FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health, OHT8 (robert.ochs@fda.hhs.gov).

    It is negligent for a city to install or operate an electronic product that has no FDA approval, and which is known to put the public at risk of harm. In order to pursue a claim against a public entity under California Government Code section 835, a person must show: (1) that the property was owned or controlled by a public entity at the time of the incident; (2) the property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury; (3) the injury was proximately caused by the dangerous condition; (4) the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of injury; and (5) that there was a negligent or wrongful act or omission within the scope of employment of the public entity’s employee that created the dangerous condition or the public entity had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition. (Moncur v. City of Los Angeles, Dept. of Airports (1977) 68 Cal.App.3d 118; Gov. Code §§ 830(a)-(c), 835.2.). The installation or operation of LED streetlights meets the criteria for negligence and liability.

    To protect the public from LED visible radiation and to avoid liability, a city must not install or operate LED streetlights in public spaces. To recover expenses related to the removal of any existing LED streetlights, the Soft Lights Foundation recommends that Goleta sue the FDA and the DOE for failing to disclose to Goleta that LED products are a human health hazard and for failing to comply with 21 U.S.C 360ii and publish the required performance standards for LED streetlights.

    In any case, Goleta must not install or operate LED streetlights knowing that the LED streetlights have not been FDA approved, knowing that the LED streetlights are causing serious adverse health impacts, knowing that LED streetlights are creating discriminatory barriers, and knowing that LED streetlights are defective and dangerous.

    Mark Baker, President
    Soft Lights Foundation
    Beaverton, OR

    Op Ed
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    Op-eds are written by community members and organizations, not Goleta Voice. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect those of Goleta Voice. Have an opinion on something local? Share it with us at voice@goletavoice.com.


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