Category Archives: Human health
Impact of wind turbines on human health due to low frequency noise and infrasounc
Originally published in the Toronto Sun on June 29, 2016 by Jim McPherson.
The federal government’s inaction on wind turbine noise is making Canadians sick.
It’s been a year-and-a-half since Health Canada’s $2-million study determined low-frequency acoustic waves from industrial wind turbines cause community annoyance.
According to the World Health Organization, unwanted noise, even at a moderate level, can lead to a myriad of adverse health outcomes, including stress-related symptoms such as sleep disturbance, elevated blood pressure, cardiac events and depression.
It’s a “green” form of radiation sickness.
Canada’s Radiation Emitting Devices Act (REDA) is supposed to regulate the design and operation of devices that emit radiation, such as microwave ovens and tanning beds.
In sworn testimony at an environmental review tribunal, a Health Canada official confirmed industrial wind turbines — large, noise-emitting devices — are regulated by REDA.
An ERT appeal panel has concluded that wpd’s 27-turbine White Pines wind project, if built as approved by MOECC, will cause serious and irreversible harm to animal life, specifically to Little Brown Bat and Blanding’s Turtle.
This is a HUGE victory for appellants APPEC and John Hirsch, and for the whole Prince Edward County community. We are now well positioned to push wpd out of the County for good.
BUT it’s going to take more time, and more money for legal costs. Please read on, and then consider making a contribution to the South Shore Appeal Fund to help ensure victory.
CCSAGE NATURALLY GREEN (“CCSAGE”) is a not-for-profit corporation, under Federal legislation, continuing an informal group founded in 2009.
It supports and believes in green energy which is both safe and appropriate, and encourages small scale solutions and conservation measures.
In so doing, its actions are planned to be constructive in achieving those goals, and it has the following beliefs which support this mandate:
- CCSAGE welcomes the findings of two Ontario Auditors-General as expressed in their separate Reports up to including that of 2015. Translated into everyday language they find the Green Energy Act to be an economic disaster, enacted without benefit of technical advice and with no consideration of a business rationale or of its overall impact.
- CCSAGE agrees with the published opinions of several well-known economists and energy expert to the same effect, including Michael Trebilcock, Keith Stelling, Dr. Glenn Fox, Ross McKintrick and Tom Adams.
- CCSAGE agrees with the published opinion of the Energy Task Force of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (April 2015), which shows that increased use of wind and solar energy on the Ontario grid is causing a dramatic increase in both carbon emissions and electricity prices.
CCSAGE suggests to the Premier and Government of Ontario as follows:
- Put on hold immediately all proposed major wind and solar projects not currently operating, until considerations of appropriate placement and of Municipal jurisdiction be determined, and economic and scientific justification be established, including science-based justification of set-backs from property lines of houses, schools and other inhabited structures;
- Re-write the Green Energy Act based on results of economic, scientific and health analyses that are produced by acknowledged and independent experts (excluding those of the wind and solar industries and of their allies and supporters);
- The Act, as amended or replaced, would require the location of major safe and appropriate green energy installations to be considered in areas of this vast Province which are determined by the relevant and expert authority to be:
- Consistent with the Environment Canada recommendations noted in Environment Canada document, Wind Turbines and Birds, A Guidance Document, including consideration of cumulative effects, requirement for baseline surveys, and consistent with the 11 listed criteria where they not be sited, such as Important Bird Areas and migration corridors.
- Never where adverse health effects to humans are possible.
- Never where local economies could be adversely affected.
- Never where the natural environment could be unreasonably disturbed.
- Should any Municipality indicate that it is an unwilling host to such an installation, the wishes of that Municipality would prevail over the current provisions of the Green Energy Act.
- Energy projects would not be excluded from the Environmental Protection Act. Any appeal of permission granted for an installation would be to the Courts utilizing evidence presently permitted by the Courts. The Environmental Review Tribunal would be abolished, as its terms are inconsistent with protection of the environment as well as the Statement of Values of MOECC and MNRF.
- Any such permission must restrict payment to the proponent to a maximum of the then weighted average price of electricity produced in Ontario by nuclear, hydro-electric and natural gas sources.
CCSAGE has filed an Application to the Supreme Court of Ontario for Judicial Review of the circumstances and background leading to the issue of a Renewal Energy Approval for 27 turbines in the south part of the County of Prince Edward. This does not detract from, but underlines, CCSAGE’s wish to be constructive rather than negative, as it concentrates on the deficiencies of the Green Energy Act, on its bias against rural communities and on the infringement of citizens’ rights and of statutes and international treaties.
On Thursday, July 16th, 2015, a Renewable Energy Approval (REA) was issued by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) to White Pines Wind Incorporated (alias wpd Canada) for 27 of the 29 industrial wind turbines originally proposed, to be located in South Marysburgh and Athol. The two deleted were as a direct result of major efforts (and expense) by individuals concerned about the impact of these and other turbines on “cultural resources and protected properties”. The REA includes two large transformer substations. The 29 kilometre line connecting everything to the Hydro One system north of Picton was approved by the Ontario Energy Board in 2014. (Question: why would the transmission line be approved, apparently in a vacuum well in advance of the REA, unless the Ontario Energy Board was certain that the REA would be issued? Yet another indication that the entire procedure is a mockery of democratic norms).
The smoking gun: The wind industry has covered up NASA’s infrasound research results for two decades
New information has come to light regarding early research into low frequency noise (LFN) and infrasound generated by wind turbines, which allows us to complete the following historical summary:
1. In the 1980s, NASA conducted extensive wind turbine research, which documented adverse effects of low frequency sound (LFN) and infrasound on human health and well-being.
2. In the mid-1990s, the wind industry established wind turbine noise standards that were specifically designed to cover up NASA’s findings.
3. Since then, governments worldwide have been duped into accepting the wind industry’s noise standards as adequate, or have been complicit in adopting them to further their own political interests.
4. In recent years, independent researchers have been rediscovering what NASA and the wind industry have known for decades about LFN and infrasound and their effects on human health.
5. Now, municipalities are considering regulation of LFN and infrasound from wind turbines for health and safety reasons.
Although there are thousands of citizens’ groups opposing wind turbines worldwide, few (if any) have known about NASA’s research and the wind industry’s coverup of their findings until recently. The facts have now been documented in an excellent article and 36-year timeline published by Stop These Things, an Australian anti-wind turbine group. You can read the article here and view the timeline here .
Two items of particular interest are referenced in the timeline:
- A 1985 (!) paper by Nussbaum and Reinis on the medical effects of infrasound on human beings — a collaboration between the Department of Psychology at the University of Waterloo and the Institute of Aerospace Studies at the University of Toronto, available here . This paper makes connections between infrasound and medical symptoms such as headache, fatigue, dizziness and nausea — symptoms being experienced by many people living near wind turbines.
- An article reporting on a municipal by-law that regulates LFN and infrasound from wind turbines (the first in the world) enacted in 2014 by the town of Plympton-Wyoming, Ontario, plus the text of the by-law, available here (scroll down).
So, a major coverup of the health effects of LFN and infrasound, extending over two decades. Very good for the turbine manufacturers, the wind developers and the politicians who aided and abetted them. Very bad for the tens of thousands of ordinary people living near wind turbines who have had to endure debilitating medical symptoms. Recognizing that we can’t change the past, we have to set our sights on changing the future.
[Wind Concerns Ontario has released the findings of its expert panel review of Health Canada’s study on Wind turbine noise and Health. Following is WCO’s media release.]
HEALTH CANADA NOISE STUDY A MISSED OPPORTUNITY TO FIND THE TRUTH
Wind Concerns Ontario advises results summary and public pamphlet be withdrawn
November 25, 2014
On November 6, 2014, Health Canada released its long-awaited results of the $2.1-million, publicly funded Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study. Only, it didn’t: what was released in a whirlwind public relations effort was a summary of the study results—no data was presented, nor was there a full formal report, or a publication that had undergone the promised “peer” review, by scientists.
Wind Concerns Ontario immediately convened an expert panel to review the documents available (the summary plus a PowerPoint presentation, and basic study details available on the government website) and has produced a summary report of their comments. The panel consisted of several university professors with expertise in physics and acoustics, as well as an epidemiologist, and a health researcher.
The unanimous conclusion of the expert panel is that the study design was flawed; even so, there are clear findings of a relationship between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.
Key findings from the review panel:
- Study summary was released prematurely, without a full report, expected peer review, supporting data or analysis
- Study design was to raise questions but Health Canada concludes inappropriately there is “no association” between turbine noise and adverse health effects; however, the study does find significant correlation between turbine noise and annoyance (an established adverse health effect)—these statements contradict
- Population sample used included people who were getting a direct benefit from wind power development including money
- A significant number of addresses were found to have vacant homes or houses that had been demolished—the reasons for this were not explored
- Work on infrasound and low frequency noise is completely inadequate, say acoustics experts. One hour averages were used (in summer, the season of low wind); also industry-sourced estimates of yearly averages were used in place of actual in-home noise measurement
- Numerous biases and other errors affect the credibility of some of the study results, as presented in the summary
As the stakeholder group in Ontario, a coalition of community groups and individuals concerned about the impact of industrial-scale wind power generation projects on human health, the environment, and the economy, Wind Concerns Ontario wishes to express its disappointment in Health Canada, which has as its goal the protection of the health of Canadians, using sound science.
Wind Concerns Ontario sent a letter today to the Minister of Health, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, together with the summary of our review panel comments, and a series of recommendations.
We recommend that:
- Health Canada should remove the summary findings from the Health Canada website in their current version
- Health Canada should release the final report only after it has gone through the normal peer-review process and been accepted for publication in a recognized academic journal
- Health Canada should return to the study areas and present the study findings in a series of public meetings, as befitting a publicly-funded research project
- Health Canada should rescind the “pamphlet” in its current form and if such a publication is deemed necessary, remove the claims about the “comprehensive” nature of the study, and further, affix the disclaimer more prominently.
Please read the full commentary document based on our review panel input here:
Please plan to attend one or both of two important events happening this week:
Senior Project Evaluator
Ontario Ministry of the Environment
Environmental Approvals Branch
Dear [Name withheld],
Re: EBR 012-0774
Amherst Island Windlectric IWT project.
I am writing to tell you that I oppose the IWT project planned for Amherst Island. What I would like you to tell me is why I am having to write again for the third time to express that view. Your government has clearly not been listening. Not only are they wasting my tax dollars … they are wasting my time.