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Adverse Health Effects and Industrial Wind Energy Facilities  

Author:  | Australia, Health, Ontario

To:  Dr Steve Hambleton, President, Australian Medical Association

I am aware of the Australian Medical Association position (2014) regarding risk of health associated with industrial wind turbines. As background, I am an independent, full time volunteer and published researcher regarding health effects and industrial wind energy facilities and share information with communities, individuals, authorities, wind energy developers, the industry and others.

I am a co-author of three articles, one a review, published in Canadian rural medical journals, Can J Rural Med 2014;19(1):21-26; Can Fam Physician 2013;59:473-475 (Commentary); and Can Fam Physician 2013;59:921-925 (Letters/Correspondence). These are cited in PubMed and are attached for your information.

I am taking the opportunity to share the experiences regarding the negative effects which can occur when industrial wind energy facilities are sited in close proximity to family homes and sensitive environments; and to provide some of the peer reviewed and other evidence regarding this topic.

Personal disclosure: I declare no potential conflicts of interest and have received no financial support with respect to the research and authorship of this overview. This commentary is public and may be shared.

I have made a number of submissions to both provincial and federal authorities in Canada and shared information internationally. An example is one sent to the Minister of Health, Health Canada regarding risks to children. This is public and may be shared.

This is a complex and challenging topic. The many variables associated with wind energy facilities such as siting design and proximity, wind direction and speed, terrain, house construction, a variety of noise emissions, and electrical pollution to name a few, can affect the assortment and description of symptoms being reported.

To assist with this topic, I have provided some examples of comments received from Canadians reporting adverse health issues in the attached Adverse Health Effects and Industrial Wind Energy Facilities March 18 2014.

  • When individuals visited their family physician, some comment they felt there was a lack of understanding of the effects associated with the wind energy facilities. They sensed disbelief that they were being harmed by these facilities.
  • Some comment on an inability to adequately articulate or describe the physical and other sensations being experienced.
  • Some feel they were characterized as being jealous and/or resentful because they weren’t receiving economic benefits and/or they didn’t like the look of the turbines, and/or they were anti-wind or against green energy.
  • A few comment that their family physician declined the peer reviewed and other references offered.
  • Some report they were given medication to treat their sleep disturbance, anxiety, stress, depression, nausea, vertigo, migraine/headaches, chest sensations, palpitations, joint pain, exhaustion and other symptoms. Some report the medication did not solve the issues as the source i.e. the wind energy facilities, were still operating in close proximity to their homes.
  • Some report that in their attempt to sleep, alcohol was taken with a sleep aid and that as time went on, more alcohol and extra doses of the sleep aid were required in order to fall asleep and/or remain asleep.
  • In some cases, some report their symptoms were attributed as NOCEBO effects and they were imagining it or it was all in their heads and this was what was making them ill.
  • Some report a feeling of being dismissed/discounted. This caused them additional pain, hurt, grief and a sense of being doubted. Some report that they decided to not describe the full extent of their symptoms and are reluctant to share further information with their physician.

Of concern is that some report they are hesitant to elaborate on the degradation in their quality of life, the significant changes to their living environment, the negative changes in their health status, and the social-economic impacts. This reluctance could deprive the family physician of information relating to disruptive noise levels, vibration, pulsation and other and the associated symptoms.

These comments could have significant ramifications, as in some cases the family physician may not be receiving all the facts, which could hamper or misdirect the clinical investigation. …

The World Health Organization states with respect to noise in general:

“In all cases, noise should be reduced to the lowest level achievable in a particular
situation. Where there is a reasonable possibility that public health will be damaged, action should be taken to protect public health without awaiting full scientific proof.” [World Health Organization. Guidelines for community noise. Geneva; OMS, 1999, p 94. Berglund, B., Lindvall, T., and Schwela, D. H.]

The Policy Interpretation Network on Children’s Health and Environment advises:

“Policies that may protect children’s health or may minimise irreversible health
effects should be implemented, and policies or measures should be applied based on the precautionary principle, in accordance with the Declaration of the WHO Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in Budapest in 2004.” [Report WP7, Summary PINCHE policy recommendations, Policy Interpretation Network on Children’s Health and Environment (PINCHE), QLK4-2002-02395]

I trust the information provided will be helpful and given consideration by the AMA and if I can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours truly,

Carmen Krogh, BScPharm
Ontario, Canada

March 18, 2014

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This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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