Ford and Edison in a modern regulatory environment: the first-in-human trial of night-work and artificial light

Thomas C. Erren, David M. Shaw*, Ursula Wild, J. Valerie Gross

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/Letter to the editorAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)


A thought experiment places Henry Ford and Thomas Alva Edison in a modern regulatory environment. In a utopian occupational world devoid of night-shifts or artificial light, Ford wants to experiment with "working through the night". To support Ford's project, Edison offers his patented electric lamps to "turn nights into days". An ethics committee [EC] does not approve the night-work experiment and Utopia's Food and Drug Administration [FDA] does not approve the potential medical device as safe for use by humans. According to the EC and FDA, complex effects on circadian biology and thus safety of work and light at night are not understood. The thought experiment conveys that we should pay more attention to possible risks of work and light at chronobiologically unusual times.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2017


  • Shift work
  • Night work
  • Light
  • Chronobiology
  • Chronodisruption
  • Public health
  • Thought experiment
  • Ford
  • Edison
  • TIME
  • MICE

Cite this