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Peer review process nearly complete for wind turbine study

OWEN SOUND – A local study that concluded that wind turbines cause distress among people who live near them is being peer reviewed and should be ready for publication in medical journals soon.

In February, Grey-Bruce medical officer of health Dr. Hazel Lynn and researcher Dr. Ian Arra presented their findings after an in-depth review of 18 of the most credible and up-to-date studies around the world on whether wind turbines affect people’s health.

Their review came at the request of the Grey Bruce Board of Health over a year ago after the board was inundated with plaintive appeals from residents who said they were suffering ill health from the massive turbines. Residents and anti-wind lobby groups have asked Lynn over the last couple of years to do everything from order a stop to the turbines to doing her own comprehensive health study.

“Basically, I don’t have the jurisdiction to do anything about wind turbines, other than to (make a) fuss, and that frustrates me,” Lynn said late last week. “It’s a Green Energy Act problem, and it’s unjust, I really think it is, but it’s not really my problem.”

Lynn has said she sympathizes with those who say they’ve suffered from headaches, dizziness, sleeplessness and other maladies from living near wind turbines, but that there are more pressing health issues in Grey-Bruce, such as heart disease.

Lynn and Arra’s review concluded that every one of the credible studies they looked at found some kind of association between wind turbines and distress among people who live near them. Three of those studies showed that the closer a person lives to the turbines, the greater the distress.

However, Lynn and Arra said the current studies are not at a high enough evidenced based level to effect a change in government policies – for instance, a setback larger than the current 550 metres.

Lynn’s and Arra’s study was sent to four medical journals for peer review. Lynn said she expects to hear back on them by the end of the year.

Health Canada and the University of Waterloo are both conducting studies on wind turbine effects, but those are still another year or two from completion.