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Doctors line up to warn of adverse health effects from wind turbines 

Credit:  The Sun Times, 7 February 2011 ~~

(The following information was presented to the Arran-Elderslie Council by the Friends of Arran Lake):

Increasingly, people worldwide are complaining of adverse health effects from wind turbines. At first they were not taken seriously. But the First International Symposium on the Global Wind Industry and Adverse Health Effects in Picton, Ont., last October i s changing that.

Medical scientists are beginning to understand that there is a real problem related to the low frequency noise emitted by these huge industrial machines.

British Sleep Medicine specialist, Dr. Christopher Hanning, of University Hospitals in Leicester says:

“In my expert opinion, from my knowledge of sleep physiology and a review of the available research, I have no doubt that . . . industrial wind turbines generate sufficient noise to disturb the sleep and impair the health of those living nearby. . . . Ill health has driven families from homes which were around 900m from wind turbines”.

Dr. Alec Salt, Professor of Otolaryngology at Washington University, St Louis, told the conference: “allowing turbines to be located 550 metres from people’s homes is insane”.

He has analyzed the “infrasound” from the turbines – sound waves of less than 20 cycles per second. “Although you cannot hear such low frequency sound, it i s easily detected by the ear and can have effects on the body.

“We are only just beginning to understand that infrasound can disturb sleep, probably by stimulation of subconscious neural pathways to the brain. Sleep disturbance over a prolonged period is known to be extremely hazardous to health, causing high blood pressure, diabetes and increased mortality… for people living in homes up to five kilometers away from the wind turbines”.

Dr. Salt warns that “ the effects of high levels of infrasound generated by wind turbines build up slowly on people. For most, there are no effects while in the vicinity of wind turbines for short periods” – until they try to sleep in nearby homes.

A Canadian trained doctor practising in Maine has made a study of his patients living near wind turbines and compared it with a control group outside the turbine area.

Dr. Michael Nissenbaum found that 82% ( 18/ 22) of exposed subjects reported new or worsened chronic sleep deprivation, versus 4% (1 person) in the non-exposed group. 41% of exposed people reported new chronic headaches (versus 4% in the control group) with increased prescriptions among the exposed group. He emphasized the link between sleep deprivation and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Robert Thorne of the Australian Acoustical Society, an Environmental Health Research Associate at Massey University, N.Z., found that people living within 1 to 4.3 km of the Waubra, Australia wind project complained of sleep disturbance, headaches, sore eyes, ringing in the ears, earaches, dizziness, loss of balance and high blood pressure. Farmers complained that the worst affect i s experienced while working their farms.

Australian physician Dr. Sarah Laurie, is so concerned that she has “recommended to people within five kilometres of the Waubra wind farm to check their blood pressure with a 24hour monitor and see a doctor if it is over 140/ 80 when they first awake in the morning.”

Dr. Robert McMurtry, former Dean of Medicine at the University of Western Ontario, said that the Review by Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Arlene King has little relevance for an emerging technology because it didn’t bother to investigate complaints of actual patients. As a literature review it contains no original research. Its conclusions are not even supported by the content of the references cited. The review admits that Ontario doesn’t have a protocol to verify compliance with existing wind turbine noise limits nor appropriate guidelines for wind turbine l ow frequency noise. The review was a government-convened attempt to justify unsound practices of wind turbine development while denying the adverse health effects being reported by Ontario families.

Epidemiologist Dr. Carl Phillips, Professor of Public Health Policy, University of Texas Medical School, says “ there is ample scientific evidence to conclude that wind turbines cause serious health problems f or some people living nearby.”

The action of people choosing to leave their homes at considerable inconvenience and financial loss rather than endure the adverse effects of the turbines provides “an objective measurement in epidemiology of what would otherwise be subjective phenomena.”

Dr. Ross McKitrick, Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Guelph stressed that wind turbines can’t replace coal plants and they will do nothing to reduce smog in Ontario because “most of our remaining smog precursors originate in the U.S.“

Energy author Robert Bryce added: “wind-generated electricity has had minimal, if any, impact on carbon dioxide emissions” in Colorado and Texas. (There are similar statistics for Germany).

“Everyone (should) question what the Ontario government and the wind industry would like us to believe,” he said.

Keith Stelling

Source:  The Sun Times, 7 February 2011

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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