Adverse Health Effects of Nighttime Lighting


Mario Motta, M.D.

19 Skipper Way, Gloucester, MA 01930; mmotta@massmed.org

Presented at the 100th Annual Meeting of the AAVSO, October 7, 2011; received March 7, 2012; accepted March 29, 2012


The effects of poor lighting and glare on public safety are well-known, as are the harmful environmental effects on various species and the environment in general. What is less well-known is the potential harmful medical effects of excessive poor nighttime lighting. A significant body of research has been developed over the last few years regarding this problem. One of the most significant effects is the startling increased risk for breast cancer by excessive exposure to nighttime lighting. The mechanism is felt to be by disruption of the circadian rhythm and suppression of melatonin production from the pineal gland. Melatonin has an anticancer effect that is lost when its production is disrupted. I am in the process of developing a monograph that will summarize this important body of research, to be presented and endorsed by the American Medical Association, and its Council of Science and Public health. This paper is a brief overall summary of this little known potential harmful effect of poor and excessive nighttime lighting.