The Effects of Artificial Lighting Vs. Sunlight

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The Effects of Artificial Lighting Vs. Sunlight
A tanning bed is a good example of artificial lighting (sexy tanning image by Alfonso d'Agostino from Fotolia.com)

Sunlight contains colour bands of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet and indigo. Humans can see these colours when they are broken down by a prism. Two invisible wavelengths are also present in sunlight. They include ultraviolet and infrared. Artificial lighting contains a light made with an excess of one or more of the colour rays. Artificial light can contain only one of the invisible infrared or ultraviolet rays at one time. Light, both natural and artificial, can affect humans, plants and animals in different ways.

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Sunlight

Sunlight provides the necessary ultraviolet and infrared rays that are required for all living things to grow. A period of darkness is required for the cells to regenerate and rejuvenate. Living organisms have been constructed to work harmoniously with day and night.

Humans

Adverse effects of artificial lighting have been seen in humans. Studies have been completed that show elderly men do not absorb calcium if they spend most of their time indoors. These men were then exposed to a special artificial lighting that has been developed to mimic sunlight. Their absorption rate for calcium increased by 15 per cent.

"Light stress" can be caused by unnatural or artificial lighting. "Light stress" is an imbalance of the body rhythms. Normal body rhythms allow for the body temperature to rise and fall within a 24 hour time period. Interrupting this rhythm tricks the body into not performing vital processes needed to live healthy. Anabolic activities within a body can only take place at night. Artificial light can significantly disrupt your normal body rhythms.

Plants

Scientific studies have shown that plants that are grown under artificial lighting lack plant strength, flower colour and fruit quality. Plants need to have periods of sunlight and darkness in order to grow properly. Placing plants under artificial lighting does not provide the plant with a sufficient amount of nutrients.

An interesting study was completed on male and female pumpkin plants placed under artificial lighting. The female plants blossomed under a pink-coloured light, but soon all the blossoms turned black and fell off the plant. When the pink-coloured light was replaced with a blue one, the male blossoms turned black and fell off the plant. Due to the lack of natural sunlight, the pumpkin plants did not produce fruit due to the inability of both the female and male blossoms to bud.

Animals

Many studies have been conducted on animals with artificial lighting. Animals have the same needs for sunlight as humans. A study was completed on 1000 mice. The mice were divided into groups and placed under sunlight, a white fluorescent bulb and a pink fluorescent bulb. The mice under the sunlight produced an even amount of male to female offspring. Those exposed to the white fluorescent bulb had more females (30 per cent male and 70 per cent female). In contrast, the pink fluorescent bulb changed the sex of the offspring to 30 per cent female and 70 per cent male.

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