Do LED Lights Produce UV?


Do LED light bulbs emit UV? How viable are LED black lights? Are there LED tanning bed lights? With the rise in popularity of LED bulbs, many questions are asked as to how the cutting-edge technology will fare in certain applications.

Black light technology is a cinch for LED. LED’s can be designed to produce light of any wavelength. Most black light LED sources are in the 385-400nm range, though a little lower is considered the sweet spot for creating the optimal black light effect. A fixture or bulb peaking at around 365nm will cover the entire black light spectrum.

Some in the lighting business have stated that LEDs do not produce UV radiation. However studies have shown that standard LEDs do create a small amount of UV. That said, the amount of UV they actually emit is even less. This is due to the phosphors within an LED lamp that convert the Ultraviolet light to white light.

We all know that exposure to UV radiation leads to sunburn, and in extreme scenarios can lead to eye problems, skin cancer, weakening of the immune system, and more. Fortunately, most artificial light sources do not emit enough UV for this to be a real concern. CFL lamps, already a worry for their mercury content, are being studied for the UV they put out. While not emitting a significant amount of UV, some people who are very sensitive to UV may be affected by the amount of UV produced by CFLs. Health Canada recommends that people keep a distance of 30 cm or more from any light source.

An additional concern with UV output is color degradation. CFL and HID lamps have been known to cause damage to shades, carpets, painted surfaces, and more due to UV emissions. This has been another motivating factor for places like museums to retrofit to LED.

And what about pesky insects and their attraction to certain lights? You may have noticed this less with LED. UV radiation from light sources has been known to attract insects of all kinds, though LED’s emissions are so minimal that they do not hold the same level of command over bugs. Food-service and outdoor applications are just a few instances that can benefit from this.


With such limited UV output from LED, it is no wonder you cannot find LED tanning lights stateside. It is not so much that it cannot be done, but rather the challenge is making them efficient, long life, and low cost. Will LED tanning beds be commercialized one day? A quick search on Alibaba will reveal various LED tanning beds, though the cost (and likely the quality) of these leave a bit to be desired. But never say never with LED – a few years back it would have been hard to imagine some of the things LED can do now.


Tags: , , , ,

19 Responses to “Do LED Lights Produce UV?”

  1. Bella GreenJuly 20, 2016 at 5:22 am #

    No, LED lights do not emit any UV rays.

    • AndrewFebruary 12, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

      So why are you able to buy UVB, UVA, UVC leds? Standard L.E.D. produce almost none, but specifics can and do produce UV light.

      • Jad AwadMarch 29, 2017 at 8:18 am #

        totally right. anyways, is there any supplier of combined UVA UVB LED chipsets suitable for tanning beds?

    • Mai MariartiSeptember 17, 2018 at 11:01 am #

      My understanding is, when electrons pass through a PN junction of an LED, they give off photons in the UV spectrum.
      This UV ray is converted to visible color light, with the use of different phosphorous materials that covers the LED die.
      The material absorbs the UV radiation and re-radiates it as lower temp color light and heat.
      Different phosphorous producing different colors, like white, blue, green,…
      If you omit the phosphor coating stage, you get UV LEDs.

  2. Jim HarrisDecember 2, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

    Bella Green is wrong. Google the key words and you will find many reports of actual tests showing e.g. “as much UV as blue light” from white LEDs.

  3. Will DMarch 17, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

    Would LED lights strips be harmful or beneficial to a reptile? The Lights i have in a retrofitted cage would be white strips.

  4. Miranda HartelFebruary 3, 2018 at 8:16 pm #

    I always thought led didn’t have uv but I realized I still react to SOME led lights though not nearly as bad as cfls (I’m allergic to if rays). So some must have uv even if it’s just a tiny amount. Seems to be the white leds

    • Miranda HartelFebruary 3, 2018 at 8:17 pm #

      I meant I’m allergic to UV rays *

  5. Bart DoetsFebruary 6, 2018 at 11:30 am #

    Since LED’s can be programmed to emit any color, it seems apparent they don’t have a wide color spectrum like ordinary bulbs. So a white LED may still have some UV, but the more towards red you choose or program a LED the less UV there will remain.

  6. UV Ba-bayMay 1, 2018 at 11:56 am #

    Depending on what is it you are wanting to do, you have to look for an LED with the proper wavelength. A lot of UV LEDs are at a 400nm+ wavelength. This means you can see the light but if your trying to make something glow, you will most likely not be happy with the result. Below the 400nm wavelength maybe what your wanting.

  7. VijayJune 24, 2018 at 12:00 am #

    Why don’t we use phosphorus screen in cfl or other light souces ,they convert uv light to white

  8. MarkJuly 2, 2018 at 12:48 pm #

    Not an expert but, most LED’s don’t give off much UV, and fluorescent lights do use a phosphor aready. It”s that white stuff on the inside of the tube.

  9. MichelleSeptember 13, 2018 at 5:25 pm #

    I’m allergic to uv rays so I have to be very careful when it comes to lighting

  10. RavichandranSeptember 30, 2018 at 11:31 am #

    Led it’s disturb FM radio

  11. RavichandranSeptember 30, 2018 at 11:33 am #

    After seeing led light for few seconds ,it reduces visual acuity for few minutes

  12. Mark WysiekierskiDecember 8, 2018 at 12:47 pm #

    Allergic to uv rays? Vampires? Or just some super rare skin problem that coincidentally two people were drawn to this article? Finding this hard to believe…

  13. sparechangeDecember 20, 2018 at 9:22 am #

    could you tan under grow LED lights? any harmful effects?
    i once saw a gal around my job who was breathtakingly beautiful. no lie… and i wasn’t a tattoo guy, at the time, but she was allergic to the sun so her entire face was covered in ink/tattooed and to me, this was the source, of her “beauty”/not to sound gay, or like a virgin, staring at his first, lucky contestant… this same gal wore sleeves n gloves, constantly. so it’s definitely a “thing”. i dunno that i ever came across the affliction, again, in all my years. “they do exist”…

  14. Ronald AndersonDecember 30, 2018 at 5:25 pm #

    The UV output radiated by LEDs is extremely low. That doesn’t mean that you can’t doctor the mix of chemicals to produce an LED that produces UV radiation, but what you get is still not a powerful light source. The use of phosphors to alter the radiated UV is not being used on LEDs, but is actually an existing function that has always been a part of the way that fluorescent tubes work. Yellow phosphors are being used on blue LEDs and the mix of these two light frequencies makes humans think they seeing white light, it’s a very poor white light but people are buying them all day long at Home Depot.

  15. MR ANDRE J C DE GUERINJanuary 15, 2019 at 1:15 am #

    LEDs do not normally affect radio unless you have one of the infamous “hooters” with negative differential resistance. More likely to be the power supply tbh.

Leave a Reply