The Big Picture, from WhatIs.com

Monday, July 17, 2006

No more SAD riders in the Montreal metro

As part of a recent redesign of 423 cars in the Montreal subway system, the transit corp. replaced cool white fluorescent tubes with full-spectrum lighting. Full-spectrum lights are used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a depressive disorder that affects some sunlight-deprived people. Winter in northern climes or just spending way too much time indoors is enough to create a deficiency. According to a growing body of research the lighting, which resembles sunlight, has a positive effect on mood, stress levels and the immune system. Regular fluorescent lights (the defacto standard down on the cube farm), on the other hand, have more or less the opposite effect and are known to cause, or worsen, depression. Not to mention the way those cool white fluorescents sap the color out of even the most attractive cubizens until everyone in the office looks like Drac or his bride...


According to this report, the Montreal transit system is the first in the world to install full-spectrum lighting. It will be interesting to see what the results are -- and if other cities follow Montreal's example. A number of European countries have already banned cool white fluorescent lighting in public spaces because of its depressant effect.

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