How does one respond?

Oct 3, 2009


“Grief,” by John Clum

How does one respond to the letter, below?  (Click here for the original text.)  From Sharon Ward in Texas.  About Vibroacoustic Disease (VAD) caused by low frequency noise (LFN) from natural gas compressors.  One hundred thirty compressors in her county.

Sharon says a member of their group (Citizens for Environmental Cleanup) has been diagnosed with VAD by Dr. Debbie Wright, a cardiologist in Lafayette, IN.  Dr. Wright has studied with the Portuguese VAD group, led by pathologist N. A. A. Castello Branco.  (See NAA Castelo Branco and M Alves-Pereira, “Vibroacoustic disease,” Noise Health 6:23 [2004]: 3-20.)  Dr. Wright understands VAD.  So does Dr. Pierpont, although she claims no special expertise in it.  (Click here to read what Pierpont has written about VAD in her WTS book.) 

So how does one reply to this letter?  Where is the National Institutes of Health?  The CDC?  The Texas Department of Health.  Where are all the Texas doctors?  Understand that Sharon is not talking about wind turbines.  Nor is VAD likely to be a significant element in Wind Turbine Syndrome, argues Pierpont.  VAD is, however, acknowledged in numerous European countries as a genuine industrial disease. 

Moreover, Dr. Pierpont will tell you that any physician worth her (his) salt listens to people like Sharon Ward, taking their complaints seriously.  It’s only quacks, light-weights, the callous, or the poorly trained who brush them off—because they’re frightened by the symptoms and know they can’t figure them out.  Or they’re shills for industry.  Or just plain insensitive.

Nina Pierpont is a country doctor.  Just one person.  How on earth can she shoulder this huge undertaking in addition to WTS and having a full medical practice? 

On the other hand, if she won’t, who will?  Who has?  Where’s the government?  What’s it for?  What is the government doing?  (Obama, are you reading this?  And if not, why not?)

And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud.

—Walt Whitman, “Leaves of Grass”

the Editor


September 26, 2009

Dear Dr. Pierpont,

I would like to thank you for making time to read this. Also, for your excellent work on WTS.  It is so similar to VAD Vibroacoustic Disease caused by low frequency noise. Initially identified in the aeronautical field, by military pilots and aircrew. I am sure you are aware ofVieques, Puerto Rico studies.  The Navy bought the end of this small island for artillery practice. Poor people lived at the other end of the island. They have since suffered high cancer rates, heart problems, internal problems, and low birth weights.

I live in Texas, the state with the most gas wells (95,000+). The gas from the wells is piped to compressor stations. Our county has 130 or more compressor stations. The low frequency noise travels up to 5 miles radius, thereby overlapping. 

Our director, Charles Morgan, has been diagnosed with VAD by a Dr. Wright in Indiana.  Feel so bad for him.  Sometimes he drives 150 miles just to sleep.  His eardrums have burst twice. He has very bad headaches and burning in his veins.

We have tried all means to get to get Noise Law (1982) given to states re-enacted, to no avail.  We have tried to get school districts to have a noise assessment. We have been to Austin to see Representatives and Senators. We are not trying to stop big oil & gas, just get them to give up some of those billions in profit and do the responsible thing by enclosing, or using noise abatement, on these compressor stations.  Yes, even the rural ones.  To protect us and the wildlife. 

Could I be so bold to ask if you could do a paper or write something on this subject you know so much about?  Please help us!  I wear earphones and take [redacted] medicine, and can’t afford to move away.

Enclosed please find our brochure. Thank you again for your time.


Sharon Ward, Secretary
Fairfield, TX 75840

  1. Comment by Amy Mall on 11/02/2009 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you for writing about this topic. Unfortunately, it seems this may not be an issue only in Texas; individuals from other states have also reported concerns about health impacts from nearby compressor stations.

  2. Comment by Sharon Ward on 11/02/2009 at 4:06 pm

    Thank you so much for your response, it was very informative.
    We appreciate all the help we can get. I hope future energy
    technology includes, indivdual solar (non-glare for pilots) and
    we can get past whipping winds, flicker, and noise effects. Also
    rid ourselves noise, toxic air, soil, and water, associated with the
    extraction of natural gas.

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