Dwarfed by Turbines

Dwarfed by Turbines

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 27 - Debate on effects of wind turbines still raging on

May 27th - we did not sleep at home last night so I am not sure how the turbines were, but thankfully, the night before they were not running or if they were, very slowly and quietly so nothing new to report, however, please read the article from the Daily News below and also, Read the letter I have been given permission to share written by Barb A to Dr. King after her report came out. A great letter in my opinion with many, many valid points..

Debate on effects of wind turbines still raging on
Chatham Daily News Article May 26

The controversy over whether industrial wind turbines can make people who live near them sick just won't go away.

Last week, Ontario's chief medical officer of health declared them safe. Well, not so much safe as not proven dangerous.

"According to the scientific evidence, there isn't any direct casual link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects," Dr. Arlene King announced in a media release.

There's a lot of wiggle room in that statement.

Somebody standing before a judge could be guilty of a crime they are charged with but is set free because it can't be proved.

The fact that the turbines could be harmful hasn't been ruled out. Their harmfulness just can't be proven.

Rather than toning down the debate going on in Norfolk County about the wind farm in the far southwest corner of the municipality, King's report is only going to rev it up.

A group of people living in the former Houghton Township area continues to insist the windmills that have gone up in their area over the past few years are making them sick.

It's easy to dismiss their charges. People become ill, especially as they get older. Headaches? Dizziness? Sleeplessness? These things happen to people all the time.

But if you listen to their stories, something disturbing starts to emerge. Outspoken critic Stephana Johnston insists her problems disappear once she leaves her Lakeshore Road home to sleep in a room she rents in Delhi. Another woman offers a sober, detailed account of the problems she faces: the low level noise from the propeller blades of surrounding turbines, she says, creates vibrations in her house and in her body.

On the surface, it may sound far-fetched, but a Portugese study concluded the phenomenon does happen and is harmful. Vibrations can be set off inside body cavities and soft organs damaged. Their study is referred to in King's report and dismissed.

"This finding has not been recognized by the international medical and scientific
community," her report notes. "This research group also hypothesized that a family living near wind turbines will develop vibro-acoustic disease from exposure to low frequency sound, but has not provided evidence to support this."

Whether or not turbines are a health hazard is an important question for Norfolk County. The province announced recently that another group of turbines are set to go up in the other end of the county east of Port Dover as part of a vast collection of wind and solar farms extending into Haldimand County.

You can say the science doesn't support that turbines are sickening people. But the anecdotal evidence continues to pile up that they are.

What's needed is a scientific report stating clearly and unequivocally that wind turbines are not harmful -- end of story.

Until then, we should all remain skeptical. And our elected officials should join the other municipalities in Ontario that are calling for a moratorium on the building of any new turbines.

More studies need to be done before we can say for sure they are safe.


May 24, 2010

Dr. King,

I have corresponded with your office since January of this year. I asked for your help. I asked you to please respond to the many victims in this province who are suffering and being forced to leave their homes since the start up of wind turbines and substations that are situated too close to their homes.

You claim there is no causal link. How can you call a developer shutting down turbines to alleviate the noise not a causal link? How can you call a house that is audibly humming and vibrating not a causal link? How can you justify an MOE representative admitting there is a 160 hertz tonal noise being emitted from an entire wind farm, which I have been told is very disturbing to the human body, not a causal link? How can you call a developer sending families to live in a motel not causal link? How can you call families that were happy and healthy, some in their homes for decades but now broken up, in distress and unable to sleep in their own homes not a causal link? How can you call hundreds of people across this province and around this entire world that are experiencing identical symptoms since the start up of the wind farms around their homes not a causal link?

To my knowledge, you have not talked to any of the victims. You have not started at the most obvious place to start. Dr. Hazel Lynn of the Grey-Bruce Public health office held two open houses to discuss this topic. One was held in Owen Sound and the other in Walkerton. She invited Dr. Ray Copes. At these two open houses, victims who were able to attend and speak out, lined up at the microphones to tell the public health office what was happening to them and they were asking for help. We all thought that we were finally going to have someone who cares about our health listen to us and help us. We had lost faith in every other ministry involved in this policy but we thought you would listen. You listened alright, and then you ignored.

Is it your mandate to protect and prevent harm to our health? If so, you have not done the job you are supposed to do, just as the rest of the ministries, who for some reason have been silent or have deliberately fed people misleading information, have not done their jobs. If not, then you should not have put this report out under your office's name.

You have just thrown well over 100 victims in rural Ontario under the bus in your allegiance to your Premier. You have also put more people clearly in the path of harm in future wind farms by issuing this report. Is this the legacy that you wanted attached to your career? Is this what you want people to remember when they hear your name? This should be an embarrassment for those who participated in drafting this report. No one in this province will ever trust any of you again.

We heard many times at the beginning of your department’s involvement that renewable energy project health consequences were not included in the mandate of the public health office. Your staff literally did not know what to do with complaints.

I quote:

“I empathize with your concern about the neighboring wind turbines and the ineffectiveness of various agencies to legitimize your grievance. Unfortunately your request that our public health unit be able to take some action on this matter does not align with the current reality. I apologize for any false impressions I may have relayed to you about any type of regulatory capacity we may have but to do so would only give you false hope and perhaps undermine any legitimate avenue of appeal you are trying to seek through the appropriate provincial agency or court action.

Our public health unit does not have the recourse, resources or expertise to monitor the health effects of turbines and seek the type of remedy you are looking for. To circumvent or intervene with the processes already in place, however, would be foolhardy and wasteful on our part given our mandate.

I am sorry that you feel you have been undermined by these very processes but we are unequivocal in our principles to fully practice protecting the public’s health in an effective manner with the tools and guidelines we have. To stray from this course, by pursuing such avenues, would be highly problematic for effectively serving the public in accordance with our public health protocols and directives.” April, 2009

I know that this general message has also been expressed to others. If this is not in your departments mandate then you should have stepped down from any involvement in this and passed it to someone who could do a proper investigation.

This report implies that industrial wind turbine installations are not causing residents adverse health effects. This is shameful and misleading.You cleverly conclude that wind turbines do not cause hearing impairment. It appears you are trying to confuse the public, by adding an irrelevant issue to the issues that they are trying to understand. How could you dismiss so many people and render them invisible? Why would your department completely ignore the precautionary principle and the voices that have been pleading for help from this government? Shame on you as a doctor and shame on you as a person.

I have included in this letter the conclusions of your literature review. As follows:

The following are the main conclusions of the review and consultation on the health impacts of wind turbines:

• While some people living near wind turbines report symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and sleep disturbance, the scientific evidence available to date does not demonstrate a direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.

• The sound level from wind turbines at common residential setbacks is not sufficient to cause hearing impairment or other direct adverse health effects. However, some people might find it annoying. It has been suggested that annoyance may be a reaction to the characteristic “swishing” or fluctuating nature of wind turbine sound rather than to the intensity of sound.

• Low frequency sound and infrasound from current generation upwind model turbines are well below the pressure sound levels at which known health effects occur. Further, there is no scientific evidence to date that vibration from low frequency wind turbine noise causes adverse health effects.

• Community engagement at the outset of planning for wind turbines is important and may alleviate health concerns about wind farms.

• Concerns about fairness and equity may also influence attitudes towards wind farms and allegations about effects on health. These factors deserve greater attention in future developments.

Can you really dismiss the low frequency issues when your fellow ministries have admitted they don’t even know how to measure it? Again, you are confusing the public. Unfortunately it is the victims of these vibrations that are the most knowledgeable and experienced at this, but sadly, you failed to ask them about it.

You suggest that community engagement may alleviate health concerns? How? How does that stop noise, low frequency vibration and dirty electricity from bombarding ones home and body?

My husband had just finished building his dream shop. We were building it as the turbines were being erected. I was gleefully taking photos of each. We did not anticipate any problems and we had certainly not heard about all of the problems in previous installations because many of those people had been silenced. How dare you imply to the public reading your conclusions that my husband and I would not have had problems had we been more involved in the process. How dare you imply that a small child who is howling with earaches when she lives in her home and that are relieved when she is taken out of her home, is angry because she has been left out of the process. Your insults are not taken lightly by the residents of this province.

In the Toronto Star newspaper, May 21st, 2010 you said:

“There are no direct links between wind turbines and adverse health impacts,” King said in an interview. “This variety of symptoms can be caused by a variety of different factors. It is important if individuals have symptoms or concerns (that they) be assessed by their physicians.”

How can patients be properly assessed by their physicians when you have broadly and publicly told doctors that their symptoms are not being caused by industrial wind turbine facilities? By this statement you have jeopardized every victim in getting help. If you have not talked to any victims or completed any ground studies then this statement to the press is inappropriate.

you should immediately resign from your position. You have done nothing to protect our health and you have done nothing to investigate valid health concerns.

Barbara Ashbee

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