Members of the Association to Protect Amherst Island (APAI) took their case against the proposed Amherst Island Wind Energy Project to the KFL&A Board of Health at the board’s March 28 meeting, in an attempt to garner its support for their cause.
APAI represents 200 Amherst Island residents who are concerned about the potential health impacts of the project, its members hope the Board of Health will be able to have some sway over the project through their role as the responsible authority for protecting the health of Island residents.
“At present, the KFL&A’s position is enabling the Amherst Island Wind Project to go forward,” said APAI chairperson Janet Grace and health policy expert Laurie Kilpatrick in a letter introducing the subject addressed to the board and Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Gemmill. “We are deeply troubled by this position, as we believe that poorly sited industrial wind turbines put the health of some residents in grave danger.”
Retired pharmacist Carmen Krogh addressed the Board on behalf of the APAI. Krogh is a well-known expert on the adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines (IWTs), and volunteers her time to work towards a goal of evidence-based siting of wind farms so as to protect human health.
She explained that her extensive research identified hard evidence that wind turbines cause significant direct and indirect adverse health effects for humans.
“The Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario has focused only on direct pathways (to adverse health effects),” Krogh said, explaining that this excuse has been used to justify the purported safety of current turbine siting regulations. “This is a significant issue.”
Krogh noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) has also recognized a correlation between excessive noise exposure and indirect pathways to ill health, these include factors such as disturbances to activities, sleep and communication – all of which can eventually lead to serious illnesses like cardiovascular disease.
In addition, Krogh produced evidence that noise-induced “annoyance” has been widely recognized as a genuine health issue.
“We have a confusion with annoyance in everyday life, which is thought to be trivial,” she said. “However, in clinical terms it is in itself an adverse health effect.”
Another important point Krogh made was that the WHO’s recommended noise exposure limit of 40dBA to a personal dwelling needs to be reconsidered in the case of wind turbines, as it actually applies only to road, rail and aircraft noise.
“The guidelines were not based on wind turbine noise, and we know from peer-reviewed evidence it’s more annoying than regular industrial noise…so this claim that we’re following World Health guidelines for wind turbines is not justified,” she said.
Krogh then presented proof that many experts have already recognized which indicates current minimum setback regulations for turbines can be expected to adversely affect some residents.
After going over this and other evidence, she concluded that “it would be very, very helpful and useful if boards of health and other places acknowledged that we’ve got risks here to the population and started communicating that potential risk, because right now the approach of not acknowledging this is enabling more approvals and with them more risk to the population.”
KFL&A Board of Health chair Beth Peter spoke on behalf of board members following the presentation, saying that they appreciated the talk and would need to examine at all the evidence before providing an official response.
“The board will take this home and have a good look,” she said. “We have other information through the ministry that we’ve been following, and we certainly have acknowledged that we want (this whole issue) to be researched.”
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