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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: May 19, 2023 10:31 AM
From: Representative Chris Pielli
To: All House members
Subject: Limiting Light Pollution
The excessive use of artificial light, commonly referred to as light pollution, has left 99% of those living within the United States with a dampened view of the night sky. Outdoor lights that emit light upwards or sideways have been cited as being one of the primary causes of light pollution. When light is emitted upwards, it scatters throughout the atmosphere and incrementally brightens the sky, thereby diminishing the view of it. With enough light sources, stars and other objects in the sky become invisible due to reduced contrast.  
The effects of light pollution extend beyond an artificial skyglow to adverse effects on the health of both humans and other living organisms. These adverse effects include a disruption of our natural circadian rhythm, which regulates when the body should go to sleep and wake up, as well as an increase in the risk of developing breast and prostate cancer. Further, the presence of artificial light has been known to interfere with a variety of wildlife behaviors, such as confusing young sea turtles into walking towards shorelines instead of the ocean upon hatching and disorienting birds during migration, resulting in detours, energy drain, and collisions with illuminated structures.
A number of states have enacted laws to address light pollution by placing restrictions on the use of light fixtures on state-owned or state-funded buildings. It is high time that Pennsylvania joins these states and work towards reducing light pollution within our borders. That is why I will be introducing legislation to require all state agencies to use fully shielded lighting units when installing new or replacing current outdoor lighting fixtures. By converting to fully shielded lighting units, we can reduce our overall light pollution and substantially lower the wattage of light fixtures needed to maintain satisfactory light levels, thereby providing for considerable energy savings.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation to preserve our shared environment and return our night skies to their natural darkness.

Introduced as HB1803