Letter: Science, not sentiment should matter


Reference Terry Sparks’ letter, “Growler noise study is a bad joke” (May 25), Mr. Sparks attempts to mock and discredit the University of Washington study — but facts are stubborn things. The University of Washington researchers have done yeoman work to collect, contextualize and analyze the data.

If you read the UW study, several concerns come to the forefront. First, the main thrust of the study is the impact on health and well-being from exposure to EA-18G aircraft operations — intensity, frequency and duration matter. The UW study specifically identified sleep disturbance, cardiovascular disease, hearing impairment, and compromised childhood learning as public health concerns.

Intensity, frequency, and duration of aircraft roar and rumble result in both short-term and long-term exposures. Exposure is cumulative and, for example, in the same way that no one would subject themselves to daily chest X-rays, day after day, for weeks on end, the UW study shows that exposure to high-intensity, low-frequency Growler noise takes a toll.

Senior decision makers in the Department of the Navy need to give the UW study close review. Disparaging researchers and academic professors, dismissing objective data, and making light of very real health and environmental concerns is “gaslighting,” not constructive criticism.

The sight of Navy jets in formation in the distance may make the hearts of some swell but sentimentality cannot offset the cumulative and harmful effects of pervasive infrasound and high-decibel pressure waves. Denying pertinent science and shooting the messengers will not solve the problem. Finding solutions will.

Mark Helpenstell