Highly alarming position paper from a medical association
Credit: Mauri Johansson, April 6, 2014 ~~
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On the background of my long working life in community and occupational medicine, including environmental medicine and research, weighting the preventive aspects, I am shocked to read your position paper on wind farms and health. The style and language is definitely not based on scientific, medical wording but sounds much more of what we hear from the wind turbine industry and their sales promoting lobbyists. A pure worship to this “modern” technology. Based on technologies, that are in sharp contradiction with the legal requirements, that manufacturers may not promote, sale or export harmful products such as machinery, which wind turbines by the EU Machinery Directive per definition are. The industry has never documented their harmlessness, based on research, involving relevant medical expertise (e.g. audiologists, medical epidemiologists, community medical specialists etc.) without any conflicts of interests.
There are several untruths in your text. It is not a question of “modern” or not but about the sound energies emitted, hitting pregnant, children and the elderly or the many neighbors in serious risk groups, especially due to the noise in the low frequency and infra sound (ILFN) range, which is never measured, using the formal, and obviously erroneous prerequisites in the laws and other publications from authorities. For example in Denmark the formal rules for wind turbine noise thresholds, including ILFN, were calculated only by engineers, without ANY participation of competent medical experts, like audiologists, or involving neighbors to wind turbines to >1 MW size. The former CEO of Vestas, well known even in Australia, in public stated, that the Government must not change the noise limits because that will harm their export, if greater distances between wind turbines and dwellings were required. Also the rules dictates the use of A-filters where nothing of the sound pressure can be recorded under 20 Hz, where by far the largest sound pressure from wind turbines is (between 70-95 dB from a 2 MW turbine – according to Kelley and newer research, that measures full spectrum noise down to about 0.2 Hz frequency). But human bodies, inner ears and the brain are easily affected by those amounts of sound energy – only they are not “audible” in a narrow definition, but they are definitely hazardous and strongly activating specific brain nuclei (amygdala, hippocampus), causing panic, anxiousness and in long run depression. But worst of all, they cause impaired sleep or insomnia (sleeplessness) with deleterious effects (see the new Norwegian HUNT study attached). So all the “mechanisms” you speak about, direct and indirect, are there and they are well documented (see e.g. the Alec Salt recent article attached).
What has AMA done to convince the Australian Medical Authorities to inform the physicians of your country about the mounting evidence of health hazards for wind turbine neighbors since, say, the year 2000? Does the UN Precautionary Principle and the UN Aarhus Convention not apply in Australia and especially among doctors? Preventive action must be taken long before there is final and water proof evidence, if there is just a suspicion of that human life and health is threatened. And finally: wind turbines, due to the fluctuation, unpredictability and capriciousness of the wind requires an everlasting backup from fossil electricity plants, thereby making the postulated “green” wind turbine electricity just black and filled with CO₂.
The tone and the inhumane wording in your statement seems to me in severe conflict with the World Medical Associations code of Medical Ethics. The forerunner of AMA was in 1947 among the constituting members of the WMA. WMA has glorious traditions in developing solid ethical and moral rules and traditions in the international medical community. By sending a copy of this letter to my now (Danish) Medical Association and my earlier (Swedish and Finnish) and orienting the Norwegian and Icelandic associations I hope to stimulate them to debat the ethical attitudes Australian AMA in the position paper unveil toward diseased countrymen. I also hope the WMA will find time to consider this correspondence during General Assembly to come. Especially I will point to the following paragraphs in the WMA Code of Medical Ethics (2014). The problems with the relations between wind farms and health are not unique for Australia. They are well known also in Denmark, the other Nordic countries and word wide. The debates are raging in 70–100 countries and in an increasing degree now also in the developing countries, towards which the wind turbine industry now is moving and where the knowledge of these complex problems and the prevention necessities in the medical forums are even more limited than in our countries.
I here remind WMA and all the member associations about the following ethical paragraphs and hope they are not violated either by Australia or any other countries:
WMA International Code of Medical Ethics
Adopted by the 3rd General Assembly of the World Medical Association, London, England, October 1949
and amended by the 22nd World Medical Assembly, Sydney, Australia, August 1968
and the 35th World Medical Assembly, Venice, Italy, October 1983
and the 57th WMA General Assembly, Pilanesberg, South Africa, October 2006
DUTIES OF PHYSICIANS IN GENERAL
- A PHYSICIAN SHALL always exercise his/her independent professional judgment and maintain the highest standards of professional conduct.
- A PHYSICIAN SHALL not allow his/her judgment to be influenced by personal profit or unfair discrimination.
- A PHYSICIAN SHALL be dedicated to providing competent medical service in full professional and moral independence, with compassion and respect for human dignity.
- A PHYSICIAN SHALL deal honestly with patients and colleagues, and report to the appropriate authorities those physicians who practice unethically or incompetently or who engage in fraud or deception.
- A PHYSICIAN SHALL certify only that which he/she has personally verified.
- A PHYSICIAN SHALL respect the local and national codes of ethics.
www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/c8/ (WMA International Code of Medical Ethics, full text)
I think this also is applicable to the ethics and moral of the medical associations.
With best wishes
Mauri Johansson, MD, Master in Humanities and Health Studies
Specialist in Community and Occupational Medicine (including Environmental Medicine)
April 6, 2014
AMA President Dr. Steve Hambleton
Vice President Professor Geoffrey Dobb
All Members of AMA Federal Council
Copy: the Australian NHMRC, The Presidents of the Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Danish Medical Associations, the World Medical Association and the Waubra Foundation
Letter from Dr. Sandy Reider, Vermont, to AMA.
Letter from Dr. Jay Tibbets, Wisconsin, to AMA.
Letter from Dr. Robert McMurtry, Ontario, to AMA.
Letter from Dr. Håkan Enbom, Sweden, to AMA.
More letters: www.wind-watch.org/news/tag/ama/
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