View Full Version : Safety factors in using IR lights - Info

Angshuman P Bagchee
02-20-1994, 03:19 PM
Dear BIOMCH-L netters:

Since we started a new gait lab setup, using incandescent IR light
sources, we invited a specialist from NIOSH to evaluate the safety aspects
of the setup. Dr. Gene Moss of NIOSH is well known for his research and
contribution in this field. He was kind enough to find time to visit
our laboratory for some suggestions.

Here are some of the observations he made.
This may be useful information to share:

1. The 600 watt IR sources were measured by him to be producing
radiation energy levels that were at least
one magnitude lower than that mandated to be safe by
NIOSH. The measurement was done at a location 1 foot away from the source
(axial distance). Summarizing, he found the IR light sources of no danger
whatsoever, except heat. In his opinion, a label marking the sources to
be a heat hazard, should be ostentatiously displayed next to it!
According to him, even staring at the lights from a "safe" distance
(say 4 ft) would not be detrimental. [Amusingly, he even stared at the
lights from few inches away, apparently, to check whether they were
turned on at all - so was his confidence! Please don't try it at home!!!]

2. The next finding is startling, however. In his opinion, the white
lights (600 W) provided along with the Peak System were a hazard to the eye.
Even though one is repelled by its brightness, the indirect glare has
enough blue component to be a cause of worry. In fact, his suggestion was
to use the IR only and avoid the white lights, if possible. He also suggested
the use of goggles (proper tint) to alleviate the problem (This may
alter the visual feedback component of gait in my opinion).

I am not sure of this, but he could possibly be reached at
the NIOSH's Cincinnati address for suggestions.

| A. Bagchee |
| Biomechanics Ergonomics Research Lab |
| Dept of Environmental Health |
| University of Cincinnati Medical Center |
| Cincinnati, OH 45267-0056 |
| email: bagcheap@ucunix.san.uc.edu |

P.S.: NIOSH = National Instt for Occupational Safety & Health, 4676 Columbia
Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226.