Over the last year, I started to notice a change in some Central Maine streetlights and parking lot lights.  They were a different color.  Yes, some were now appearing to be purple.

Honestly, I did not think much of it.  When I was a kid, all street lights were bright white.  Then, a few decades ago, we started to seem them being changed to an amber color.

I just assumed that some scientist or doctor had found there was some benefit to the lights being purple.  It made it easier to see at night or made things easier to see in bad weather.  Right?

And, since most of the purple lights appeared in places where road work was being done or in places where a store / plaza was being renovated, I just assumed the lights were being updated, too.  It turns out, this was just a coincidence.

After my daughter asked me about the lights, I decided to do some research.  What I found was kind of surprising.

According to an article on the Foundation for Economic Education website, the answer has to do with the age of the lights.  In order to get the right temperature (hue and brightness) of the LED lights, they have a laminate applied to the LED.  After a certain period of time, that laminate starts to degrade.  When it does, the color we see coming from the light appears to be blue or purple.

Crazy, eh?

Maine is far from the only place where this is happening.  According to Business Insider, the same thing is happening in New York, Florida, Canada, and even in Ireland.

Of course, some people have some safety concerns about the lights.  Even though they seem as bright when they are purple as they were when they were white (or amber), some experts say that they are not as safe because humans are not used to seeing the nighttime world in a purple hue.

What do you think?  If you have encountered purple lights, do you think that they make it more difficult to see?  Let us know your thoughts by messaging us inside our app.

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