• <h4 class="dechead">On One Hand: Black Lights Produce a Weak Output

    Black lights produce electromagnetic radiation in the ultraviolet range; however, their light spectrum falls exclusively in the long-wave UVA region. The UVA region is known for being the safest of the spectra of UV light, in comparison to UVB and UVC light. Black lights are used in many settings and for numerous practices; those used in decorative and artistic settings for lighting effects are entirely safe for viewing. Additionally, those used in therapeutic and diagnostic settings are safe when coupled with any necessary protective equipment.

    On the Other: Black Lights Do Produce Ultraviolet Light

    While many uses of black lights are safe, those used in tanning beds for cosmetic purposes can be harmful to human health. People who expose their skin to black lights in tanning beds can cause damage to their skin and eyes. UV radiation can cause cellular mutations, DNA damage, cataract formation, melanoma and depression of the immune system. Thus, in settings in which UV radiation is directed at the skin in relatively high quantities, black lights can be harmful to human health.

    Bottom Line

    In general, black lights are not harmful in themselves, as they emit a very weak output of ultraviolet light in the UVA range. Thus, black lights used for purposes such as aesthetic lighting will not be harmful. Additionally, those used for diagnostic imaging or for therapeutic purposes will be safe as long as protective equipment is worn by those exposed. Black lights only become potentially harmful when they are specifically utilized in tanning beds.


    How Black Lights Work

    More Information:

    NDT Resource Center: Health & Safety

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