Legacy of Leo Chick
September 9, 2008. Mr. Leo Chick, Leslie, MI, died Tuesday, 9/9/08, of apparent heart failure.
Mr. Chick spent five years in Europe during World War II defending freedom and justice for people throughout the world. After returning home, he married his wife Vernita. They purchased the farm where they lived and raised two daughters.
Mr. Chick challenged a power company for building nine 46,000-Volt lines on an old easement that ran between his grain and machine storage building and his dairy barn. He proved that the power company had breached an agreement signed when the line was built which gave assurances that the installation would comply with all requirements of the National Electric Safety Code (NESC) adopted as law by the State of Michigan and would not put any electricity or electromagnetic fields onto the farm.
With the help of engineers Mr. Chick proved, that the lines violated requirements of the National Electric Safety Code for clearance of a grain storage building. He also proved that the lines were radiating electricity for at least 600 ft parallel to the lines and exceeded "Hazardous Energy" Directives for Enforcement of the Electrical Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Standard, of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), U.S. Department of Labor.
When Mr. Chick developed dizziness (vertigo), headaches, burning eyes, muscle pains, and twitching while working near the lines, local doctors diagnosed his condition as heart arrhythmia and hypertension. They recognized a nerve-involvement could not explain the muscle-pain and nerve involvement. Mr. Chick had knowledgeable engineers and animal scientists measure the EMF exposure near the lines and found electric current was flowing through his body when he touched the door of the grain bin or was standing in his usual workplace under the lines.
Mr. Chick contacted a doctor who had studied sensitivity of humans to electromagnetic fields because local doctors had no knowledge of the effects of EMF on health of humans. This doctor was a cardiologist and thoracic cardiovascular surgeon who had treated patients suffering from electrical exposure. The doctor gave Mr. Chick a 2-4 milliGauss EMF challenge while observing changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and heart rate variability via EKG tracings. EMF exposure caused the same effects as diagnosed by local doctors. The level of EMF exposure was less than the utility calculated to be under the 46 kV lines where Chick had first observed the illness.
Mr. Chick believed that others may be exposed to similar electricity and should be warned that it could affect their health, so he took his story about the breach of contract to a local newspaper, and to a farmer's newspaper for publishing. The utility was notified immediately of the article and threatened to sue for disclosing his dilemma to the farm organization. After four years of struggle, expenditure of most of his lifetime retirement savings he was under the duress of further lawsuit and agreed to a settlement that did not result in the transmission lines being moved 800 ft to the south line fence as he had offered to the utility without cost at the beginning.
However, Mr. Chick's scientific contribution to understanding of factors causing heart arrhythmia, hypertension, and neuromuscular tremors will be recorded in medical history as an important breakthrough in medical knowledge.
Mr. Chick was an honest and benevolent patriot who had fought for peace and justice so others could enjoy the freedom of speech and press guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but he fought for and was denied such justice on his own farm where he was fighting for the rights of family, neighbors, and visitors to enjoy their property without risking their health.
In recognition of his citizenship and personal achievements the Jackson Citizens Patriot published an article calling him "a Passing Generation." It is for us the living to insure that his sacrifice was not in vain.