Full-spectrum light is light that covers the electromagnetic spectrum from infrared to near-ultraviolet, or all wavelengths that are useful to plant or animal life; in particular, sunlight is considered full spectrum, even though the solar spectral distribution reaching Earth changes with time of day, latitude, and atmospheric conditions.
Products marketed as “full-spectrum” may produce light throughout the entire spectrum, but actually do not produce an even spectral distribution, and may not even differ substantially from lights not marketed as “full-spectrum” The non-profit Lighting Research Center, a group of utility companies, experts and government agencies, established the National Lighting Product Information Program (NLPIP) in the USA to provide objective information about the effectiveness of different lighting systems. According to the NLPIP, full-spectrum light does not provide any improved benefits over similar light systems.
A Cornell University study reached mixed conclusions on the use of full-spectrum lighting in restaurants to promote sales.
The National Research Council of Canada Institute for Research in Construction, a Canadian government research and development agency, has published several scientific articles about full-spectrum lighting, collected on their web page. The authors of these papers also have concluded that full-spectrum lighting (~5000 K, CRI>90) does not confer any benefits on performance, mood, or health compared to typical cool-white fluorescent lighting.