Elaine forced to sell home due to LED lights

Elaine Dennehy, from Tuam, with a collection of the incandescent light bulbs she has stockpiled for future use due to the extreme reaction she suffers to LED lighting. Photo: Ray Ryan

Jacqueline Hogge

A young woman is being forced to sell her home in order to move away from newly installed street lighting due to an extreme sensitivity to LED bulbs.

Elaine Dennehy (35), from Tuam, Co Galway, suffers from severe migraine and vomiting as a result of direct exposure to LED backlighting in common household appliances such as lights, computers, televisions and mobile phones.

She has limited her exposure to LED by stockpiling incandescent bulbs that were phased out following a ban in 2009. But she has become a prisoner in her own home after dark following the installation of new street lights - the closest of which is less than 100 metres from her door.

"The problem first surfaced almost eight years ago when I bought a Nintendo DS when I was heading to Australia and when I turned it on I got a shooting pain behind my eye and had to run to the bathroom to throw up," she said.

Neurologists, opticians and ophthalmologists have all examined Elaine and given her a clean bill of health, with no underlying health condition to explain her symptoms, which include eye pain, ringing ears and after image.

"I was forced to give up work when the computer systems were changed to LED backlit screens and in order for me to use my own laptop I have to connect it to an 11-year-old monitor," she said.

She said the "final straw" came when new street lights were erected last December as it meant she had to be indoors by 4pm during the winter.

"I have no choice but to sell my home," she said, adding she has yet to find anyone in Ireland with symptoms as severe.

Councillor Donagh Killilea said the Health Service Executive had acknowledged there were some negative health impacts from LED bulbs.

"I am asking Galway County Council to explore why filters have been used on LED street lighting in the UK, before any further LED street lights are installed in the county," he said.