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Ask NOW: Are local LED lights in signs regulated?

May 21, 2014

Is there a rumor you've heard that you would like to track down? Is there something in the city — like playground equipment or a pothole — that needs to be fixed? Rick Romano answers some of the mysteries of life in Wauwatosa and helps solve everyday problems.

Are local LED lights in signs regulated?

Issue: A reader wants to know if any governmental regulation pertain to the use of LED lights in signs. "The optical store on Mayfair Road just south of North Avenue uses them and now the Lutheran Church at 121st Street and North Avenue has them in a sign," the reader wrote. "I think they are really hard on the eyes. I'm concerned about more and more signs using the extra bright LED lights."

Status: LED (light-emitting diode) lights are not prohibited by the city, said Karl Schreiber, development coordinator in the Building and Safety Division. He said the only concerns the city would have pertain to whether signage flashes or scrolls.

Industry professionals said that because LED is an emerging technology, it has not yet come under close scrutiny.

No plans exist to study LEDS, said Patricia McGillicuddy, manager of technology for the New York City-based Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.

"There needs to be a critical mass of government-led concerns for a study committee to be formed," she said. "We're not quite there yet."

Carrie Meadow, managing editor of LED Magazine, which covers the industry for professionals, said any regulations of LEDs will depend on local concerns on a case-by-case basis.

Submit your question by sending an email to news@cninow.com.

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