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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.

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