Reporting to the United States Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the safety of radiation-producing devices in the United States, including devices that emit visible light like LED lights and screens.
To report health problems you generally have with most/all LED lights or LED screens or to report health problems with specific LED devices, use the Accidental Radiation Occurrence (ARO) Report form 3649, which is in section 6 of this webpage:
or available directly through this link: https://www.fda.gov/media/79866/download
The FDA welcomes reports from people both inside and outside the United States. Please see the notes below about how the FDA suggests that we make these reports - the form itself is limited and not designed with us in mind.
Reports may either be emailed to RadHealthCustomerService@fda.hhs.gov or sent by mail using the address on the form.
Please help spread the word about this reporting avenue!
The FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health accepts reports of health issues involving any light-producing devices, regardless of whether those devices are subject to current regulations. Manufacturers are required to relay reports of health problems from their light-producing devices with the above form. The FDA can make recommendations when there are health issues with products. While they currently don't have regulations that can help individuals sensitive to LEDs, they will study it - to do so effectively they need our reports. My initial report in the summer of 2022, sent through the wrong channel, was the very first report they've received from any individual or manufacturer about health issues associated with LED products. To my knowledge, there is no other agency collecting similar data in the US, so we need to make reports to give the government the data it needs to take action
Since the replacement of fluorescent lights in February 2022 with very triggering LEDs with ~100% flicker in the NYC Public School where I had been working, I've been reaching out to every city, state, and federal agency I could think of to simply ask how I could report that these lights had so badly affected my health that I couldn't safely enter the school building anymore (and I am very concerned about the potential impact on any sensitive children among the million NYC public school children). This included the FDA, EPA, CDC, Dept. of Energy, OSHA, PESH, New York State Dept. of Education, NYC Public Schools, NYC Dept. of Health, and NYC Dept. of Buildings. Every agency, including initially the FDA, told me they wouldn't even accept a report because there aren't any regulations for LED lights yet. However, the EPA told me that the FDA oversees health problems with lights. A report that I sent in anyway to what I knew was the wrong place at the FDA by snail mail, eventually fortuitously made it to the right office. A representative contacted me and we've talked on the phone and have been emailing about how individuals sensitive to LED lights or screens should properly report their health problems. I've leaned heavily on my scientific credentials and discussed the lack of good science around LED products and health and I think the FDA is listening. I truly believe the FDA is open to helping if they receive evidence of a need.
Please don't let the fact that this ARO form was obviously not designed with us in mind put you off from filing. Manufacturers are required to use this system to immediately relay any reports of health issues with their products to the FDA (regardless of whether there are regulations) and the form implies a single isolated incident. Please fill in parts of the form relevant to you - note that LED products are the last item in the Product Information list - and attach any supporting information you'd like to attach when you submit the form. For example, you might include a narrative describing your situation/supplementing the form or any supporting information that you think could be helpful to researchers at the FDA. Even though the form is designed to accept a US address, I asked and the FDA said that they welcome reports from outside of the US too - just write in your actual address. I asked how we should handle needing to report that all or most LED lights/screens are harmful to us and how to handle that we might not know manufacturer information for LED products in public places and they responded:
If the complaint/report is about a general issue with a wide variety of LED products, that could be one ARO, and only one single form needs to be completed/submitted.
If someone has problems with a known specific LED product, we would also like to know about it. So, a separate ARO report for a specific product would be appreciated.
I asked about privacy and was told "information of submitters will remain confidential and we won’t share them with anyone outside the agency."
I'm sharing as much as I can with the FDA about my experiences generally and with select products, including correspondence I've had directly reporting to manufacturers (since those manufacturers have not yet relayed the reports to the FDA). I'm going to report my health issues with both LED lights and with screens, even though I don't completely understand exactly which hardware and software aspects create my issues with LED screens. I'm going to specifically highlight LEDs in schools and other areas that I think are key from a public health perspective. However, if all you are able to do is to send in a very brief, general report, that would also be helpful so the FDA can get a better sense of the scope of the issue.
I hope that if we can use and spread the word about this reporting system, enough momentum will build to support rigorous scientific research, public health studies, calls for manufacturers to actually share health reports with the FDA, and eventually appropriate regulations. In addition to all of us adults experiencing significant challenges, I'm even more concerned about trying to protect sensitive children who may be unaware of the cause of health or learning issues.
If you know of effective ways to report health issues with LED products to government agencies in other countries, please contact me and I'll add them here.
Thank you for your help!