How Does Lighting Affect Children in the Schools
Years of research have been done in order to determine the effect of fluorescent lighting on the behavior of children. Sending your child to school, you may not have thought about the effects of the lighting in the classroom. Studies have speculated that fluorescent lighting may be a cause for hyperactivity and lack of attention in schools. Some schools have changed to more natural lighting even without concrete proof that children’s behavior is directly affected. While debate continues, it's known that autistic children are directly affected by the constant flickering of fluorescent lighting, according to the Green Facts website.
Fluorescent lights, which can simulate natural light, are the most common source of indoor lighting. It has a lower heat, is cheaper to run, is more efficient and is longer lasting than other conventional lighting. However, according to the Natural Lighting website, it does have an overall effect on the behavior of children. This may be one of those times when cheaper is not always better when it affects your children.
According to the Natural Lighting website, studies have shown that fluorescent types of light can significantly influence students and their behavior in the classroom. The studies included the differences in growth, dental caries, weight and height gains as well as overall academic achievements and attendance. Children that are predominantly exposed to fluorescent lighting showed a higher incidence of dental cavities, much slower growth in weight and height, and lesser academic achievement due to lack of concentration.
Naturallighting.com as well as Greenfacts.com also states that children who spend a significant amount of time outdoors in natural light are not significantly affected to indoor lighting. However, children who spend most of their time indoor except for the occasional morning and evening light may be significantly affected by fluorescent lighting.
The Full Spectrum Solutions webpage states that the typical results in behavior from fluorescent lighting on children are body stress, hyperactivity, lack of concentration, anxiety and other distresses that lead to inadequate learning performance. Depression has also increased in children in classrooms that had fluorescent lighting, as stated on these websites.
The Human Ecological Social Economic Project states that fluorescent lighting can be implicated in many other behavioral and health issues in adults and children. Some other conditions are aggressive behavior, ADHD and hyperactivity, dyslexia, confusion, dizziness and other health conditions. Full spectrum lighting, which is closest to natural lighting, has a more positive effect on the behavior of children, as expressed on the H.E.S.E. Project website. If you feel concerned, consult with your personal physician to note if there are any possible solutions for the health of your own children.