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Sept 8th, 7pm HAS Meeting, "Light Pollution Effects on Human Health and the Environment”

" Light Pollution Effects on Human Health

 and the Environment”

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by Mario E. Motta, MD, FACC

Swayed by strong economic and climate-related arguments, many localities and businesses around the world are switching to LEDs for use in street and premises lighting. However, not all LED lighting is optimal.

LED fixtures which produce excess blue light are harmful to both human health and the environment. They interfere with circadian rhythms and reduce melatonin production which can lead to suppression of the human immune system.  There is now voluminous data showing a higher risk of hormonally linked cancers with melatonin suppression. Excess blue light also can have negative effects on plants and wildlife.

Lighting fixtures that are overly bright, improperly designed or installed can create glare. Overly blue-colored light makes the glare worse, since blue light scatters more in the human eye.  This leads to increased disability glare which has serious implications for night-time driving visibility and can hide pedestrians or other conditions from a driver’s view.

Dr. Motta will present research data on the harmful effects of excess light at night on both human health and safety, and adverse effects on wildlife and the environment.

Our Speaker: Dr. Motta has long been active in organized medicine, both in the American Medical Association (AMA) and in the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS), holding a number of posts through the years. He is a Past President of the MMS and was elected to the AMA Council of Science and Public Health where he has served eight years and elected to the Board of Trustees of the AMA in 2018, recently completing his term.

He has also served on the Board of the International Dark-Sky Association. He has worked on light pollution issues and published several white papers on light pollution as a member of the AMA Council of Science and Public Health. He served on a UN committee (COPUOS) representing the AMA on light pollution for a worldwide effort to control light pollution and satellite proliferation.

Dr. Motta had been in practice at North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Massachusetts, since 1983, recently retiring in 2022. He is a graduate of Boston College, with a BS in physics and biology, and of Tufts Medical School. He is boarded in and is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and of the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology.  He is an associate professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.

Dr. Motta also has a lifelong interest in astronomy, and has hand built a number of telescopes and observatories through the years to do astronomy research, including his entirely homemade 32-inch F6 relay telescope located in Gloucester, MA.  He has been awarded several national awards in astronomy, including the Las Cumbras award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in 2003, and also the Walter Scott Houston award from the northeast section of the Astronomical League, and in 2017 the Henry Olcott Award from the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO).  He has also served as a president of the ATMs of Boston and has served as a council member of the AAVSO, and is a past president as well.

Finally, several years ago the International Astronomical Union awarded Dr. Motta an asteroid in part for his work on light pollution as well as amateur research, asteroid 133537MarioMotta.


This meeting will be held virtually via Zoom. To attend, you must register for the meeting. You can do so using the link below. You will receive an email with the details of the meeting and a link that will allow you to join in.

You only need to register once!

Join us Friday, September 8th, 2023, at 7:00 pm CDST.

See you then!