Commentary: Health director shouldn’t ignore victims

Friends Against Wind | Elizabeth Ebertz

“Unnecessary noise, then, is the most cruel absence of care which can be inflicted either on sick or well.”

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale founder of modern nursing

This excerpt is from “Chapter IV Noise” of Florence Nightingale’s famous 1898 work: “Notes on Nursing What It Is, and What It Is Not”, which offers many cautions about noise and health that she believed nurses should practice. Her understanding was very progressive. Not until the 1960s did epidemiology demonstrate that long-term exposure to low levels of noise causes significant adverse health effects. Not until the 2000s did epidemiology prove that low sound levels over long periods at night result in significant health effects including cardiovascular impacts. Nurse Nightingale did not wait for that epidemiological evidence when she saw the evidence directly in the sick people she was trying to help.

In contrast, county Health Officer/Director Kimberly Mueller claims to be waiting for scientific evidence that proves adverse health effects are caused by the wind turbines before she will take action to address the reported harmful effects. Is this what Florence Nightingale would have decided?

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