Professor Wants Ontario to Study Human Health Impact

Posted By PAUL MORDEN, THE SARNIA OBSERVER

Trent University professor Magda Havas believes Ontario should study the impact wind turbines have on the health of people living near them.

Havas, who studies environmental toxicology at the university in Peterborough, has added her voice to the call by Dawn- Euphemia Township council and others who want Ontario to study the impact of the growing number of wind generation projects sprouting up across the province.

“Why would you want to put a lot of these wind turbines near people, have some percentage of them get sick, and then have to deal with that afterwards?” Havas asked.

“It doesn’t make sense.”

Havas said that while she’s in favour of renewable energy, “one of the things I’m concerned about is that in places where they’ve put wind turbines, the people living around them are getting sick.”

Sound waves caused by wind turbines are one of the reasons, Havas said.

Some of the waves can be heard and create a “rhythmic kind of noise pollution that drives people crazy,” much like a dripping tap, she said.

But, turbines also create sound at a low frequency that can’t be heard. These waves can “cause different organs in our body to vibrate sympathetically,” Havas said.

“That’s one of the things that’s making people sick.”

The answer to that problem, Havas said, is to determine how far wind turbines should be placed away from people’s homes to eliminated the impact.

She said a 2006 report by the French National Academy of Medicine recommended a minimum distance of 1.5 km. “Other people are suggesting 2 km as a safety factor.”