If you live in or near a city, you're familiar with the phenomenon of light pollution. That's the ambient artificial light that hangs like a reverse shroud over populated areas, lightening the night sky and making it harder to see the stars. But as Sapna Parikh explains in today's DNews report, light pollution is actually a health hazard for many species – including humans.
Studies have shown that too much light at night messes with lots of different creatures in lots of different ways. Baby sea turtles, for instance, make a nighttime dash to the water when they hatch on the beach. But light pollution can confuse the little fellas, sending them in the wrong direction, and into the mouths of predators. Plankton and coral reefs have trouble too, as excess light throws off their rhythms. As for us humans, there's evidence to suggest light pollution impedes production of the antioxidant melatonin, which can increase cancer risk. Who knew? Check out Sapna's report for more details.
NY Times: Illuminating the Effects of Light Pollution
National Geographic: Light Pollution Taking Toll on Wildlife, Eco-Groups Say
NCBI: Missing the Dark: Health Effects of Light Pollution