Warning labels on your light bulbs

Electric lights have made the world safer and made people smarter, but can they also hurt our health?

Story highlights

  • A company says it will put warning labels on its packaging for lights telling customers "exposure to certain electric lights may cause biological effects"
  • Seeing electric lights at the wrong time of day can have negative health consequences -- it can keep you from sleeping and interrupt your body's natural production of melatonin
  • Sleep loss and melatonin suppression are linked to obesity, heart problems, diabetes, depression and even death

(CNN)The light bulb always makes the world's top inventions lists.

It makes us more productive. It deters crime. It's allowed New York to become the "city that never sleeps." And yet, more than just Manhattenites are failing to get their zzz's because of electric lighting, and there is growing body of scientific evidence that electric lighting may be hurting our health.
Scientists have talked about this for years, but now a lighting company is about to point that out to every single one of its customers. And they are doing it voluntarily. What's the catch?
    The company, Florida based Lighting Science Group does make a line of biological lighting that it says can be a better fit for your health than a traditional light bulb. Their idea is that you should get the right light for the right time. So they sell a product that is supposed to be better for bedtime, and another to help you feel more awake. But with this announcement, Fred Maxik, the company's chief science officer, seems to want something more. He wants a revolution in the lighting industry.
    "We are hopeful that the industry will follow us on this" Maxik said. He believes the company is being proactive to let the public know "there is a growing body of scientific evidence that delivering light at the wrong time of day" that has serious negative health consequences. "We are saying to the public this is something you should be aware of. We aren't saying 'Don't use light,' we are saying 'Why take the risk?' "