Who Knew? Brighter is Not Always Better

Every May during our annual family vacation to Hilton Head, we have to turn off any ocean-facing lights off 9 p.m. The city requires this in respect to the nesting sea turtles, in an attempt to help the creatures flourish. Bright lights can confuse the turtles and cause them harm or an untimely death.

Interestingly, night lights are not only dangerous to sea turtles but to humans, too. A recent article in U.S. News & World Report highlights the dangers of a “bright night” – indicating that breast cancer is nearly twice as common in brightly lit communities as in dark ones, and that light pollution costs our nation about $10.4 billion a year.

In an effort to encourage others to pay attention to this growing issue, more than two dozen cities worldwide will dim their lights on March 29 in an hour-long demonstration. According to the article, Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco will all join in the demonstration by turning off the lights of some notable landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge.

You can help alleviate light pollution and its harmful effects – such as disorientation to outdoor animals and hormonal disturbances in humans that can possibly fuel tumor growth – by turning off outdoor lights by 10 p.m. To read more about the possible harmful effects of bright nights and light pollution, visit U.S. News & World Report or the International Dark-Sky Association – a “non-profit member organization that teaches others how to preserve the night sky through fact sheets, law references, pictures, and web resources.”

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