Please consider, mitigate disabling effects of LED lighting

by Heidi O’Leary

There are 3.5 million people nationwide that suffer from epilepsy. For me, and for so many of us, we cannot tolerate LEDs, especially the strobing LEDs.  They trigger grand mal seizures, headaches and nausea.  They have been proven to be dangerous for the health of everyone.

Daily we are bombarded with seizure triggers:

*LED car headlights and strobing brake lights

*LED lighting in stores, offices, schools

*Children’s toys containing flashing-colored LEDs

*Bicycles with strobe lights

*Trash, recycling and emergency vehicles

*Gas pumps with small strobes to indicate where to insert your credit card

Many of us need to use incandescent light bulbs as opposed to LEDs in our homes because LEDs cause muscles to twitch and/or cause cluster headaches and nausea. We’re scrambling around to stores everywhere to purchase as many incandescent as possible before they’re phased out. Because of these retailers using these bulbs, it’s getting more difficult to shop or eat like other people. It’s cutting short our rights. How can we even visit doctors’ offices?  We’ve become prisoners in our own home.

There are no medications for this type of epilepsy. Even anti-seizure medications on the market cause light sensitivity. It’s disturbing to know these medications are being approved, when they aren’t truly helping, but harming.

I have reached out to senators, as well as Gov. Tim Walz and those in charge of the ADA, alerting them to the dangers of LEDs and how this is discrimination. I received a flippant response from the head of the U.S. Access Board.

The people who have been elected or assigned to help those with disabilities seem to be turning a deaf ear to our pleas.

I am currently giving my time to Soft Lights (www.softlights.org). It is an advocacy group dedicated to protecting civil rights of those with light sensitivity disabilities. This includes people with autism, epilepsy, lupus, PTSD etc. We are desperate, that these lights get changed and the strobes outlawed.

The invention of LED lights for illumination has dramatically changed the world in an incredibly short amount of time. Citizens and government leaders alike jumped at the chance to save energy.

We need your advocacy.

Heidi O’Leary lives in St. Paul.