Open letter to Vermont Governor and Senators from Vermont's leading pediatric neurologist
"Please tell me how the jobs and money that the F-35 project brings to Vermont can be said to justify the well-established costs" to Vermont children
Peter Bingham is a Professor of Neurology and Chief of the Pediatric Neurology Division at the University of Vermont Medical Center
Dear Governor Scott, Senators Leahy and Sanders:
First, thank you for your service and your voice, speaking out on behalf of many causes and issues that matter to me and many in my community.
I'm writing to ask you if there is any way I could better understand your position on the F35 jets in Vermont because I think there are many unpopulated places--not necessarily within Vermont--that they could be based other than such a densely populated community.
I'm writing as Vermont's principal pediatric neurologist--I feel some responsibility to speak up about environmental conditions that adversely affect our children's mental health, reading skills, sleep, attention span. I regard you all as sensible people who are ready to ask questions, to be open to new information; I believe you care about the big picture and long term consequences of children's health. It's important to know that you have carefully weighed the community health costs imposed by F35 noise pollution.
References listed below are just some of the abundant scientific research studies showing that noise pollution (e.g., 110 decibels associated with F35 fly-overs)
--decreases reading skills
--increases the risk of mortality due to heart attack
--increases anxiety and depression
--increases attention problems
--increases aggressive behavior
People often say "get used to it," "it's like living near a train station," "it's just for a few seconds," but none of these considerations attenuate the very definite neuro- and cardio-toxic effects of episodic noise levels such as those generated by F-35s in our community. People vary in their sensitivity to noise; because of the inherent sensitivity of their brains, children are among the most susceptible to noise neurotoxicity. Those with the greatest sensitivity pay the highest price along the lines cited above. Sound-proofing homes is not enough.
I sense that you are the kind of leaders who listen to the people that you serve; "selective hearing" doesn't work in your kind of work any better than it does in mine. Please tell me and others who live and work here--how can the jobs and money that the F35 project brings to greater Burlington justify the well-established costs that I've listed here?
Peter M. Bingham MD
Professor of Neurology & Pediatrics
University of Vermont/Vermont Children's Hospital
2010: “Aircraft Noise, Air Pollution, and Mortality From Myocardial Infarction,” Huss, A; Spoerri, A; (...); Roosli, M. Nov 2010 | EPIDEMIOLOGY 21 (6) , pp.829-836 “We analyzed 4.6 million persons older than 30 years. . . Aircraft noise was associated with mortality from myocardial infarction, with a dose-response relationship for level and duration of exposure. The association does not appear to be explained by exposure to particulate matter air pollution, education, or socioeconomic status of the municipality.”
2012: “Neurobehavioral effects of exposure to traffic-related air pollution and transportation noise in primary schoolchildren,” Elise van Kempen 1 , Paul Fischer, Nicole Janssen, Danny Houthuijs, Irene van Kamp, Stephen Stansfeld, Flemming Cassee, Environmental Research, 2012 May;115:18-25. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2012.03.002. Epub 2012 Apr 6. PMID: 22483436. “Our results provide some support that prolonged exposure to traffic-related air pollution as well as to noise adversely affects cognitive functioning.”
2017: “The effect of noise exposure during the developmental period on the function of the auditory system,” Zbyněk Bureš, Jiří Popelář, Josef Syka Hearing Research, 2017 Sep;352:1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2016.03.008. Epub 2016 Mar 16. PMID: 26994659. “Recently, there has been growing evidence that development and maturation of the auditory system depends substantially on the afferent activity supplying inputs to the developing centers. In cases when this activity is altered during early ontogeny as a consequence of, e.g., an unnatural acoustic environment or acoustic trauma, the structure and function of the auditory system may be severely affected. Pathological alterations may be found in populations of ribbon synapses of the inner hair cells.”
2019: “Behavioral and Emotional Disorders and Transportation Noise among Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” Schubert M, Hegewald J, Freiberg A, Starke KR, Augustin F, Riedel-Heller SG, Zeeb H, Seidler A. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2019 Sep 10;16(18):3336. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16183336. PMID: 31510007; PMCID: PMC6765874. “The odds for hyperactivity/inattention and total difficulties was significantly increased by 11% (Odds Ratio, OR = 1.11 (95% Confidence Interval, CI 1.04-1.19), respectively 9% (95% CI 1.02-1.16) per 10 dB road traffic noise.”
Write or call your public servants and local news media:
Call or email your favorite local news media reporter
Governor Phil Scott 802-828-3333 Chief of Staff <Jason.Gibbs@vermont.gov>
Vermont National Guard's Complaint Line: 802-660-5379 (Note: the Vermont Guard told a reporter that it received over 1400 noise complaints. But the Guard won’t release what people said).
Instead or in addition, submit your report & complaint to the online F-35 Fall 2021-Winter 2022 Report & Complaint Form: https://tinyurl.com/5d89ckj9
See all the graphs and in-your-own words statements on the F-35 Spring-Summer 2021 Report & Complaint Form (513 responses): https://tinyurl.com/3svacfvx.
See links to the graphs and in-your-own words statements on all four versions of the F-35 Report & Complaint Form since Spring 2020, with a total of 1670 responses from 658 different people.
Senator Patrick Leahy 800-642-3193 Chief of Staff <email@example.com>
Senator Bernie Sanders 800-339-9834 <Senator@sanders.senate.gov>
Congressman Peter Welch 888-605-7270 Chief of Staff <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Burlington City Council <email@example.com>
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Winooski Mayor Kristine Lott <email@example.com>
S. Burlington City Council Chair Helen Riehle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Williston Selectboard Chair Terry Macaig <email@example.com>
VT Senate President Becca Balint <firstname.lastname@example.org>
VT House Speaker Jill Krowinski <email@example.com>
Attorney General TJ Donavan <DonovanTJ@gmail.com>
States Attorney Sarah George <Sarah.firstname.lastname@example.org>
Vermont’s Federal Prosecutor <email@example.com>
Adjutant General Brig Gen Gregory C Knight <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Major J Scott Detweiler <email@example.com>
Wing Commander Col David Shevchik firstname.lastname@example.org
Vermont National Guard Inspector General Lt. Col. Edward J Soychak <email@example.com>
US Air Force Inspector General Lt. Col. Pamela D. Koppelmann <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall <Frank.Kendall@us.af.mil>