LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Give us sanctuary from Daylight Saving Time

Now that the county commissioners have dealt with the non-issue of fluoridated drinking water, here’s the next problem they should get to work on: daylight saving time (DST).

According to the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, the transition to DST brings a host of detrimental health effects. In addition to general tiredness reported by about 55% of responses to surveys from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, there is scientific evidence that changing the time is associated with “modest but significant increases” in heart attacks, strokes and mood disturbances. The number of hospital admissions also increases during the transition to DST.

The transition to DST has a great impact on children and adolescents. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine showed that adolescents who get less sleep often have behavioral and learning issues and an increased risk of accidents, injuries, medical issues and mental health issues. Research also shows that the rate of traffic fatalities nationwide increases by about 6% in the spring due to sleep deprivation, and the number of automobile accidents caused by deer strikes increases by about 16% in the fall.

The rationale for DST is also suspect. Originally intended to conserve energy during World War I, studies now show that people drive more with extended daylight hours and use more energy for air conditioning. DST is also a great example of government overreach and uninformed consent, just as fluoridation of drinking water.

Given that our county commissioners set great store in protecting our children, that DST contributes to health issues, and that there is little to no savings in energy during DST, I call on our county commissioners to declare Stanly County an Eastern Standard Time Sanctuary County, and discontinue DST within Stanly County.

Now for full disclosure — I intended this as a satirical commentary on the nebulous relationship our county commissioners have with science.

In the past year, our commissioners have used a scientifically dubious document, the Great Barrington Declaration, as a reference for addressing Covid in Stanly County, recommended treatment for Covid for which no clinical evidence of efficacy exists and held hearings on fluoridated drinking water while lacking any objective evidence of fluoride-related health issues among Stanly residents.

I am sure that the new commissioners will continue exploring pseudoscientific conspiracy theories, especially now that we have a self-proclaimed Young Earth Creationist on the commission.

As a scientist, I find it very troubling that our commissioners would rather play politics, as with their response to Covid, and fluoridated drinking water, than use actual science to address public health issues.

Thomas Lipe