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Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Resolution: New England 1 (A-09)

Introduced by: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont Delegations

Subject: Advocating and Support for Light Pollution Control Efforts and Glare Reduction for Both Public Safety and Energy Savings

Referred to: Reference Committee, Chair)

Whereas, Our AMA has long advocated for policies that are scientifically sound and that positively influence public health policy; and

Whereas, We in the AMA have an opportunity to influence and promote legislation at both the national and state level on energy savings through a reduction in light pollution; and

Whereas, Light pollution is increasingly recognized as a waste of energy and a public safety issue; and

Whereas, It has been calculated that over 10 billion dollars in wasted energy could be saved with the use of full cutoff streetlights; and

Whereas, Emitted glare light is wasted light and accounts for about 40% of the light emitted by standard streetlights (cobras), it is therefore a significant source of wasted electricity, and this contributes to excess carbon dioxide production and possibly global warming; and

Whereas, Numerous states (Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming), many municipalities, and several countries have now enacted Light pollution control measures; and

Whereas, Light pollution control legislation is being proposed in Congress; and
Whereas, Streetlight glare causes decreased nighttime visibility by pupil constriction, and thus leads to diminished nighttime visibility and creates a safety hazard i,ii,iii,iv,v,vi,vii; and

Whereas, Many older citizens are significantly affected by glare as the eye ages, leading to unsafe driving conditionsn viii,ix,x,xi,xii,xiii,xiv,xv; and

Whereas, Glare light is also light trespass and is intrusive and unwanted in households and dwellings; and

Whereas, Light trespass has been implicated in disruption of the human and animal circadian rhythm, and strongly suspected as an etiology of suppressed melatonin production, depressed immune systems, and increase in cancer rates such as breast cancers xvi,xvii,xviii,xix,xx,xxi,xxii; and

Whereas, Light trespass disrupts nocturnal animal activity and results in diminished various animal populations’ survival and health xxiii;

Therefore be it RESOLVED,
That our American Medical Association advocate that all future outdoor lighting be of energy efficient designs to reduce waste of energy and production of greenhouse gasses that result from this wasted energy use (New HOD Policy);

and be it further RESOLVED,
That our AMA support light pollution reduction efforts and glare reduction efforts at both the national and state levels (New HOD Policy);

and be it further RESOLVED,
That our AMA support efforts to ensure all future streetlights be of a fully shielded design or similar non-glare design to improve the safety of our roadways for all, but especially vision impaired and older drivers. (New HOD Policy)

Fiscal Note: Staff cost estimated at less than $500 to implement.
Received: 03/30/09

i US Department of Transportation, Phase II of ENV project, Chapter 3: Discomfort and Disability Glare Study, 2005

ii Schieber, F, Kline, DW, Kline,TJB, Fozard, JL (1992). Contrast Sensitivity and the visual problems of older drivers. Warrendale, PA . Society of Automotive engineers (SAE Technical paper No. 920613)

iii Olsen, PL, and Aoke, T, (1989) The measurement of Dark Adaption level in the presence of glare, Ann Arbor, MI: Transportation Research Institute, University of Michigan, (report No. UMTRI-89-34).

iv Adams, AJ, Wong, LS, Wong, L, and Gould, B. (1988). Visual Acuity Changes with age: Some new Perspectives. American journal of Optometry and Physiological optics. 65, 403-406.Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (2007), Development of a Uniform discomfort/Disability glare metric for roadway lighting

v Brabyn, J.A., & Haegerstrom-Portnoy, G., & Schneck, E. (2000). Visual impairments in elderly people under everyday viewing conditions. Journal of Visual Impairments & Blindness, 94 (12), 741-755.

vi Guirao, A., & Gonzalez, C., & Redondo, M., & Geraghty, E., & Norrby, E., & Artal, P. (1999). Average Optical Performance of the Human Eye as a Function of Age in a Normal Population. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 40 (1), 203-213.

vii Ngai, P., & Boyce, P. (2000). The effect of overhead glare on visual discomfort. Journal of the Illuminating Engineering Society, 29 (2), 29-38.
viii Owsley, C, et al. Impact of Cataract Surgery on Motor Vehicle Crash Involvement by Older Adults, JAMA 2002;288:841-849.

ix Rubin GS, Adamsons IA, Stark WJ. Comparison of acuity, contrast sensitivity, and disability glare before and after cataract surgery. Arch Ophthalmol. 1993;111:56-61.

x Elliott DB, Bullimore MA. Assessing the reliability, discriminative ability, and validity of disability glare tests. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1993;34:108-119.

xi Kloog, Stevens, Richard, et al., Light at Night Co-distributes with incident breast but not lung cancer in the female population of Israel, Chronobiology International 25(1): 65-81 (2008)

xii Schernhammer ES, et al. (2001) Rotating Night Shifts and the risk of Breast Cancer in the Nurse’s Health Study. J National Cancer Institute. 93: 1563-1568

xiii Schernhammer ES et al. (2006) Night Work And the risk of Breast Cancer. Epidemiology 17:108-111

xiv Pauley, SM (2004) Lighting for the Human Circadian Clock: Recent Research indicates that Lighting has become a Public Health Issue Med. Hypotheses 63:588-596

xv Hahn, RA (1991) Profound Bilateral Blindness and the incidence of Breast Cancer Epidemiology 2:208-210

xvi Feychting, M et al (1998) Reduced Cancer Incidence among the Blind Epidemiology 9:490-494

xvii Brainard, GC et al, (2001) Action Spectrum for Melatonin Regulation in Humans: Evidence for novel Circadian Photoreceptor J. Neurosci 21:6405-6412

xviii Blask DE et al, (2005) Melatonin-Depleted Blood from Pre-menopausal Women exposed to light at Night stimulates growth of human-breast cancer xenografts in nude rats Cancer Research 65:11174-11184

xix McGwin G, Chapman V, Owsley C. Visual risk factors for driving difficulty among older drivers. Accid Anal Prev. 2000;32:735-744.

xx Elliott DB, Bullimore MA. Assessing the reliability, discriminative ability, and validity of disability glare tests. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1993;34:108-119.

xxi Vos JJ. Disability glare: a state of the art report. CIE Journal. 1984;3:39-53.

xxii Owsley, Cynthia et all. Visual Risk Factors for Crash Involvement in Older Drivers With Cataract, Arch Ophthalmol. 2001;119:881-887

xxiii Gray, Robert. Predicting the effects of Disability Glare on Driving Performance, Proceedings of the forth International driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training and vehicle Design.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Keeping the night sky dark

Second in a three part Dark Sky series

"Darkness is as essential to our biological welfare, to our internal clockwork, as light itself." -Verlyn Klinkenborg, "Our Vanishing Night," National Geographic magazine, November 2008

Last week in the first article of our three part series on Dark Skies , we took a look at the Dark Sky movement, some of the impacts and examples of light pollution here in the Denver area, and considered ways to choose exterior lighting fixtures that do not contribute to light pollution.

The effects of light pollution run far deeper than wasted energy in the form of light directed at the skies and minimized visibility of stars. More insidious impacts of light pollution are engaging a wider community than astronomers and sustainability advocates, such as cancer researchers and sleep experts.

From an evolutionary standpoint, human lives have long been regulated by night (dark) and light (day) cycles. Light/dark cycles regulate our internal timeclocks, or circadian rhythms, and are critical for the production of hormones and immune system function.

For thousands of years, our ancestors woke with the rising sun and went to sleep when cued by darkness. Until the industrial era, firelight, and later, gas lamps, were the only “artificial” light available after nightfall. Even then, artificial light was characterized by a golden glow similar to the warmth of a dimmed incandescent bulb.

Our nighttime world stands in marked contrast to this. Viewing a map of the earth at night, our cities glow like stars in the sky, and we have worked assiduously to render the night a replica of day time through excessive use of artificial light, certain that this makes us more secure.

What have we accomplished? Numerous studies indicate that high levels of artificial light do not create a safe night environment. In our quest for security, we have managed to skew circadian rhythms and, in the last 80 years alone, render more damage to our ability to sleep, our immune system function, and our blood sugar regulation than our predecessors managed to achieve in thousands of years.

Various studies from locations around the globe show increased cancer risk among women in industrialized countries, as well as shift workers. What do these people have in common? Exposure to artificial light at night.

Dr. George Brainard, a researcher at George Washington University who studies the impact of light on sleep cycles, notes the impact of a light on participants in sleep lab research. Participants slept in a completely darkened room. After control data was taken, a light emitter the size of a dime was taped to the back of each participant’s knee. The effect of this minimal amount of light on the skin? Sleep cycles were significantly disrupted, and immune system function was suppressed. Any light exposure at night, particularly in the cooler (more blue) portion of the light spectrum, suppresses melatonin production, which in turn promotes wakefulness. And with melatonin suppression comes diminished Natural Killer cell (NK) and T cell production, the front line of immune system function.

The danger of night time light’s effect on human health is significant enough that the conservative American Medical Association (AMA) has voiced a formal position decrying the impacts of light pollution and recommending immediate action to minimize it. According to the AMA, "Light trespass has been implicated in disruption of the human and animal circadian rhythm, and strongly suspected as an etiology of suppressed melatonin production, depressed immune systems, and increase in cancer rates such as breast cancers." Find more information on this important step in supporting Dark Sky legislation here.

As individuals, we can take action in our homes to guard ourselves against the effects of light trespass. Add blackout curtains or blinds in bedrooms to make sure they are completely darkened at night. If a light is required, such as in a child’s room, use a nightlight in the amber or red portion of the spectrum, which is shown to have much less impact on the dark-adapted eye and circadian rhythm than light in the blue portion of the spectrum. Talk to neighbors to respectfully request that their glaring spot light is redirected and shielded.

The next step is to eliminate the sources of light trespass outside the house. In our third and last article in this three part Dark Sky series, we will consider ways to interact with the community at large to promote Dark Skies and enact regulations for Dark Sky compliant lighting.

Lisa Barter is a lighting designer with extensive experience in the architecture and interior design fields. She is the principal of 3i Design, LLC, a lighting design and interior architecture consulting practice. She welcomes your questions and ideas, and you can reach her via email:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Green Living - Outdoor Lighting - Dark Skies

First in a three part Dark Sky series

As we round the corner into a new year, many of us are taking time to assess what's working in our lives and what we want to improve. If a more sustainable or green lifestyle is on your list, then 2010 is the perfect time to commit to eliminating light pollution and supporting the fight to keep our skies dark so we can see the stars, save energy, and minimize some very serious health impacts from uncontrolled light at night.

Light Pollution: An Overview
Light pollution is any adverse effect of artificial light including sky glow, glare, light trespass, light clutter, decreased visibility at night, and energy waste. Denver suffers from serious light pollution caused by uncontrolled light directed up toward the sky. The good news is that light pollution is, in many cases, easier and less expensive to remedy than other types of pollution. And the changes can begin with your own choices about exterior lighting at night.

Examples of Light Pollution
A great example of light pollution is a post-top lantern, often nostalgic in style, which emits light in all directions. Standard "cobra head" streetlights, though they have an opaque top, emit light above a 90 degree angle, which means that they are not Dark Sky compliant. Another is billboard lighting that aims upward. A common residential offender is a lantern style fixture in which the bulbs are visible and the light escapes in all directions.

For local light pollution, look no further than 6th Avenue west of downtown. The floodlights between the access road and 6th Avenue mounted on poles, with regular "cobra head" streetlights below are much brighter than necessary, poorly positioned to light the road, and are a source of glare to drivers as well as the people who live nearby. Driving the Denver metro area, look for these "glare bombs" and post their location in the comment section at the bottom of the article. They're everywhere.

Why Is Light Pollution a Problem?
Remember lying in the grass as a child and looking up at the stars? Our children, as well as those of us who enjoy stargazing or taking in meteor showers, like November's Leonid shower, are missing out on that opportunity. Much more serious implications of light pollution include disruption in human circadian rhythms, sleep cycles, and immune system function, as well as a deleterious effect on animal reproduction. In addition, light directed at the sky is, in all cases, a waste of energy, no matter how exciting it appears. A closer look at the links between light pollution and human health issues will be explored in the other articles in this three part series.

How Can We Make It Better?
In an ideal world, we would no longer attempt to mimic the glow of daylight in our night time world, and instead, would lower all ambient light levels since the dark-adapted eye needs much less light than a bright-adapted eye in order to see.

Here's the good news. As individual citizens, we can make exterior lighting choices at our homes and workplaces that do not further light pollution. The International Dark Sky Association, which is dedicated to preserving dark skies and pushing for legislation to enforce dark sky compliance in communities, has published a list of fixtures that can be used in all types of outdoor applications without lighting up the night sky, angering neighbors, or wasting energy. Let's explore some common elements.

1. Assess your requirements. Determine where you really need light. Don't use light as "decoration" or for visual effect at night.

2. Direct light where it is needed. Remember that at night, less is more.
Concentrate fixtures only where needed. Choose fixtures that can be aimed, and keep them aimed toward the ground.

3. Avoid glare. Glare actually compromises safety, as it can render an attacker or intruder invisible. Glare is often caused by an unshielded source, such as a fixture where the bulb is visible.

4. Use lower wattage bulbs. More light does not mean more safety. The dark adapted eye can best see at night when there is uniformity of illumination. A bright light against a dark background causes pupil contraction, so the dark background beyond the bright light is invisible.

5. Use "full cutoff" fixtures, which means that less than 1% of their light output is emitted above 90 degrees from horizontal.

6. Make sure that the light source is not visible when viewing the fixture straight on.

7. Keep in mind the motto "Lights Down, Stars Up".

For some Dark Sky compliant light fixtures, check out the International Dark Sky Association's approved fixtures or approved fixtures. Both websites are filled with information about dark skies and how to take action to minimize light pollution.

Resolve this year to take action on behalf of keeping our skies dark. Think of light pollution as light leak. If light fixtures were water faucets, and any light emitting toward the sky was a drip, we'd fix it immediately. Let's address light pollution with the same zeal we apply toward other matters of sustainability and energy waste, and encourage those around us to do the same. If your neighbors have bright lights that shine into your bedroom at night, check out this great resource on how to address the topic with diplomacy.

In the next two articles in our three part Dark Sky series, we'll address more specifics on fixture selection and how light exposure at night affects our health.

Lisa Barter is a lighting designer with extensive experience in the architecture and interior design fields. She is the principal of 3i Design, LLC, a lighting design and interior architecture consulting practice. She welcomes your questions and ideas, and you can reach her via email:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

120’ cell phone tower on S. Carrollton Avenue

CRNA monthly meeting: Feb 18th, 7pm – 9pm,
8400 Oak Street, New Orleans, LA 70118
(Squeal Restaurant - back room)

Presentations from both Entergy and T-Mobile, who have proposed building a 120’ cell phone tower on the Entergy property between the Chevron station and the streetcar barn.

If you live close to that site, CRNA would be especially happy to have you join us.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Phoenix Recycling - Route 5 in NorthWest Carrollton

Click HERE to sign up for Phoenix Recycling!
NorthWest Carrollton gets the Neighborhood Association discount.

From: Phoenix Recycling
To: customers and potential customers
Subject: Competition
Date: Feb 11, 2010 12:05 AM

Competition is in the air and that's a good thing. It signifies more interest in recycling and more options. But, it's well funded and seems targeted at our most densely populated routes. It's using mailer cards and letters and advertising - things we've avoided due to the waste - both material and money.

We thought it would be best to address this head-on and help illuminate the differences in the options you have. We also need your help in getting our message out. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Tell them what their options are and encourage them to sign up with someone.

Cost -
Options exist ranging from $10/month to $15/month. Our base charge is $15/month for a residential account. To encourage support of Neighborhood Associations and to thank them for their support, we discount members to $14/month. If you pay annually; our best rate is $12.50/month ($150/year).

Referral Bonus - Effective immediately we are offering a $5 bonus for each new customer referral you provide. This can be in the form of a discount to your existing service or in the form of a check. If you prefer, we can make it a contribution to a school fundraiser or recycling program, or a business or non-profit program. The fine print is that the new customer must pay for the initial quarter before we can credit anything.

Contract -
We don't require a contract for residential accounts.

Service area -
Our competitors are only targeting areas with enough demand to ensure profitability, but excluding the rest of the City. We cover all of Orleans, most of Jefferson and some of St Tammany. Not all of our routes are 'profitable'. However we felt like, if there was demand, we should start service and encourage more participation - not wait on a certain area until we would make a profit. If we did so, we would only be serving Routes 1, 4, 10 and possibly 9 currently. To put us out of business would deprive many areas of curbside recycling - that's a step backwards in the recycling efforts for the City.

Bin vs no bin -
We decided not to provide bins for a few reasons. We don't know what the City will do, so didn't want to waste money and plastic to provide a bin that will be replaced 'soon'. It would increase our costs, which would either limit our reach or cost you more - for a bin you likely don't need and won't be using 2 years from now. What happens if the bin is stolen or broken? Will you get another? Will you be required to buy another? What happens to all of those bins when the City does start recycling?

Drop off vs pick up -
There are a few drop off options around and while it always feels good to pull up to the recycling center and check that chore off of the 'to-do' list, consider if it's more efficient for 100 people to bring their material or for us to pick it up and bring it on their behalf? Industry articles prove that collection creates a much smaller carbon footprint than drop-off and even encourages others to recycle.

Motivation - I started this in 1991 because there were limited recycling options at that time. We did it until the City started a curbside program, then we moved into other types of recycling. When the City was slow to resume recycling after Katrina, we stepped in and offered a needed service. Now that there is a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in town and it's "easy" for others to do the same thing, we are seeing more competition. One thing seems clear - our competition is motivated by profit. We are motivated by diverting material from the landfill back into the commodities markets - almost 10 million pounds in 2 ½ years. Where have these guys been? We've needed the help (you've seen our trucks!!). But now it's coming at a time when it's more likely the City will do 'something' soon. But, does that finally make it a good time to get into the Recycling Business and compromise people who've been working hard for years to provide alternatives?

If you are happy with us, tell friends, neighbors, co-workers and strangers in line at the grocery store. If you're not happy - tell me so we can address any issues.

David McDonough
504 324 2043

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Spraying for Buck Moth Caterpillars $55

Soon enough, after the SuperBowl, after Mardi Gras, spring will be upon us.

As most folks who live in Uptown and Carrollton know Spring brings stinging Buck Moth Caterpillars.

This year Oak Trees on PRIVATE Property in NorthWest Carrollton are eligible to be sprayed for Buck Moth Caterpillars. In the past this price was only offered via Parkway Partners for Oaks on Public right of ways (between sidewalk and street) or if you wanted to sponser spraying a neutral ground tree.

If you are interested in having the oak trees on your property sprayed just complete this form.

Many thanks to our friends on State Street for arranging this great deal for PRIVATE trees.