Some Winnipeggers are shining a light on oddly coloured street lights that some say cause an adverse reaction for them.
Purple street lights have been popping up around the City of Winnipeg, and other communities, for over a year, now. Some people have complained that the lights have caused them headaches and nausea.
Manitoba Hydro is in charge of changing and caring for street lights in the province and says it's aware of the issue and works to replace what it says are faulty bulbs.
"There's a phosphor coating on the LED that gives it the right colour—when the coating comes off, or delaminates, it changes the colour of the light," says Media Relations Officer, Bruce Owen. "The affected street lights are one generation of a particular model from a particular manufacturer—the manufacturer is aware and replacing all the lights and associated parts for free. All our LED street lights have a 15-year warranty."
Manitoba Hydro assures Winnipeg residents that the faulty lights should not be dangerous for the public, but still works toward replacing the odd-coloured lights.
Owen says that approximately 550 purple street lights have been replaced throughout the past year. Maintenence works to replace the faulty lights as soon as their time and resources allow, giving priority to fixing burnt-out lights first.
"The colour should not present a safety issue. Purple lights emit the same amount of light as the white ones do."
However, locals have already complained of the side effects of the odd-colour lights.
"The lights are bright and intense. On Plessis, there are so many. I can't say for sure, but at least six," says Ashely Musick. She had posted a photo of some of the lights to social media earlier this week looking for answers.
"These lights honestly make me feel different. They make me feel nauseous. Maybe I'm sensitive to light, I don't know," she says.
Musick also notes that she is on medication and wondered if that may be part of the reason she is sensitive to the lights.
"I also have anxiety that I take medication for. The medication increases the effects of certain neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that relay messages between your brain cells. Maybe people with anxiety are more likely to not enjoy these lights. Just a thought."
Owen went on to say that almost all street lights in Manitoba are now LED. Approximately 97 per cent—130,000, from Emerson to Churchill.
"The old-style HPS lighting is being discontinued by most manufacturers. LEDs also last longer, are more energy-efficient, and require less maintenance overall."
Anyone who sees a purple light can report it online using the Street Light Outage form, found here.