Everything causes cancer!
It just depends when you ask about it.
One week, you hear about a study that finds a link between something and cancer.
A few weeks later, another study proves the opposite.
It makes it hard to know what to believe.
So what about grow lights? Can grow lights cause cancer?
As with most other things, the jury is still out. More study is needed.
There are some links, but nothing is definitive.
Keep reading to learn what we know so far, and the reason for persistent questions about grow lights causing cancer, and other harm, to us.
- 1 Can Grow Lights Cause Cancer?
- 2 Dangers Of Grow Lights To Humans
- 3 Can You Get A Tan From LED Grow Lights?
- 4 Grow Lights Causing Cancer: Final Thoughts
Can Grow Lights Cause Cancer?
We assume that grow lights can contribute to cancer, but we don’t have any direct proof that shows unequivocally that they can cause cancer.
However, it is well known that high levels of UV exposure and IR radiation are not good for humans. Some modern grow lights produce a high level of UV light, and this is not good for your skin, eyes, or brain.
And cancer is not the only potential danger. Let’s take a look at the main dangers grow lights can pose.
Dangers Of Grow Lights To Humans
Are grow lights harmful to humans? Yes, they can be bad for your health, if you are exposed to them for a prolonged period. Not all grow lights are the same, and some can be more dangerous than others.
However, all grow lights can pose a threat to your health if you spend too much time under them. The same things your plants love can be harmful to you.
Are grow lights bad for your skin? Yes, you can get sunburn from grow lights. You can also get a tan, both of which are not good for your skin or health.
It is UV or ultraviolet light that causes your skin to burn or tan. The high-powered grow lights in many commercial grow rooms have more than enough UV to cause sunburn.
Sunburn is quite bad for you and has been linked to cancerous moles. If you are going to be around high-powered grow lights, wear long sleeve shirts, a sun hat, and protective eyewear (see next point).
Bright lights are not good for your sensitive eyes, especially with repeated exposure or for long periods. Are led grow lights safe for human eyes, since they use less power?
No, LED grow lights can damage your eyes too. Any type of The bright intense lights can cause damage to your eyes.
That is true even for fixtures with no UV light. If you are going to be exposed to grow lights for hours at a time, be sure to wear protective eyewear. If those lights also emit UV radiation, make them UV-blocking sunglasses.
When your skin is exposed to UV radiation every day for hours at a time, it is quite likely you will experience the appearance of premature aging.
The way this presents is that you appear to start getting more wrinkles on your skin and your skin can start to become a more brown or yellowish color, depending on your complexion.
Spending hours and days under high-powered UV grow lights is not good for you and is going to harm your body, if you don’t take precautions.
If you spend several hours in a hot grow room (over 85 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit), you can suffer from heat exhaustion, or even heatstroke, in severe cases. Heatstroke is no joke and something you must take seriously.
It is not likely you will suffer heatstroke in a grow room if it is run by a professional, because the room will be no hotter than 85 degrees.
However, if you are doing work close to a hot lamp for a few hours, you may become overheated and start experiencing heatstroke symptoms.
Heatstroke Symptoms To Look Out For
- Nausea: you may start to feel sick or clammy and feel like you want to vomit
- Fast Breath: if you begin to pant, this is a sign you could be in danger
- Hot Skin: when you get heatstroke your skin can become hot to the touch; not every heatstroke is accompanied by hot skin, but it is a common symptom
- Confusion: you could become confused or feel crazy, even slurring your words
- Racing Heart: your heart can become overtaxed and start beating rapidly; this is not a good sign and if it happens, you should get to a doctor
LED Light Causes Cancer: Rumors And Research
There was a study done by ISGlobal (Barcelona Institute for Global Health) in which participants living in metropolitan areas with lots of LED light exposure had double the risk of getting prostate cancer and one and a half times the risk for breast cancer, when compared to populations with less exposure to blue light.
While the study did have the participants all be night shift workers, which largely eliminates the sun from the equation, it also had some serious shortcomings.
For example, the study compared the group of people getting the LED light exposure with people living in smaller cities with less LED light exposure.
Too Many Variables
The experiment did not account for all the other variables that occur in a smaller town vs a larger city. Larger cities have more pollution, more human-to-human contact, more toxic water supplies, and the list goes on.
My Take On The Study
This study failed to prove anything beyond the fact that living in a big city exposes you to more stress and more health risks than living in the country or a smaller city or town.
The researchers too some care to preserve the scientific process, but there are simply too many variables to come to the conclusion that exposure to bluish LED light increases your risk of cancer.
It also makes a difference if the light emits UV rays. Do LED grow lights emit UV? Some do and some don’t. And that makes a difference in their effect on our health, too.
Be that as it may, this study sure did get lots of ink, though. And it is an interesting study, but it does not prove anything about LED light or LED grow lights. Read it for yourself here: https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/ehp1837
Skin Cancer Sunburn Link
It is known that sunburn can cause skin cancer. It usually starts as a small mole, which then becomes a bigger mole. It can have a red ring around it and become itchy or slightly painful.
There is no doubt that sunburn contributes to the growth of those cancerous moles. This causes a link between growing lights and skin cancer.
Although there is no direct study showing grow lights causing a cancerous mole to grow on somebody’s skin, there is proof that sunburn causes those moles. And it is a fact that enough exposure to a high-powered UV light source can cause sunburn.
Can You Get A Tan From LED Grow Lights?
Theoretically, it could be possible to get a tan from LED grow lights, if your row light has UV diodes. LED grow lights only have UV-A diodes and that is the type of ultraviolet light that causes tanning.
UV-B rays are responsible for sunburns, but UVB diodes are too expensive to make sense on LED fixtures. The only fixtures that emit UVB light are ones that use a fluorescent UVB bulb attached to the fixture.
If you do have an LED grow light with UV diodes, you could tan under it. If it has UVB diodes, you could get vitamin D from the grow light. But I would not recommend it. And it would only have an effect if the diodes are not covered by glass.
Grow Lights Causing Cancer: Final Thoughts
There is a link between cancer and grow lights. However, it would not be factual or fair to say that grow lights cause cancer.
This link between sunburn, grow lights, and skin cancer coupled with that Barcelona Institute Study have caused a great deal of discussion in the cannabis growing community.
But it is all a bit overblown and mostly spoken by people who are trying to sell non-LED lights, or some other preventative product to you.
There is no direct evidence that proves or disproves that grow light cause cancer. But there is no doubt they are not good for you with repeated exposure. So protect yourself, if you spend a lot of time under grow lights.