Sir: A recent article on Dr. Colby, who is being quoted as saying that health concerns are not a factor for those who are living near industrial wind turbines is not coinciding with the reality presently happening right here in Ontario.
Former Dean of Medicine of the University of Western, Dr. Robert McMurtry reported on April 22 at Queen’s Park the results of a health based self-survey.
Of the 76 respondents in the community based self-survey, 53 people living near different wind power plants reported that industrial wind turbines were having a significant negative impact on their lives.
The adverse effects range from headaches and sleep disturbance to tinnitus (ringing in the ear) and depression.
Chatham-Kent council, when initially trying to deal with industrial wind development went to Dr. Colby to help “identify any health impacts and recommended mitigation measures for the placement of WT’s.” In his weak literature review prepared for this municipality, you will find many misleading conclusions. For example, the World Health Organization recommends a maximum of 35 dB (inside the bedroom) at night for sleeping.
MOE guidelines presently allow noise levels of up to 51 dBAs and yet Dr. Colby makes no reference to this information.
Dr. Colby continues in his report to justify these levels with a reference from Greenpeace which compares noise emitted from wind turbines to be less than levels generated by road traffic, trains, construction and industrial noise.
One should understand that every increase of 10 dBA, which is a tenfold increase in the noise intensity, is perceived as a doubling of the sound level.
Also within this report Dr. Colby sites a reference from a CanWEA document, indicating that “rumours surrounding infrasounds are not supported by research. (ref. # 53).”
I question the peer reviewed status of this document as well as the unbiased stance of the source since CanWEA is a lobbying organization representing industrial wind proponents.
He then sites (ref. #58) a Canadian study, “which indicates that infrasound is generated by wind turbines but not at a level perceptible to human ear.”
Infrasounds are generally at wave lengths below perceptible levels by the human ear, but there are several studies (which have not been referenced in Dr. Colby’s review) that show that they are still perceived and are being linked to conditions such as VAD (VibroAcoustic Disease) and Wind Turbine Syndrome.
Also included in this review is a section titled ‘Consultation.’ Dr. Colby’s name is listed with others in having “provided expertise and guidance throughout the development of the attached report.”
Page 17 includes a ‘quote from Chatham-Kent’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Colby.’ This reference to himself, suggests a conflict with the authorship of this document.
Within your April article, Dr. Colby is also quoted on the issue of turbine failures. He said, “68,000 of the units have been built globally and there have been few, if any, examples of failure.
In Ontario, there have been none.” Ontario has had failures and turbine failures worldwide are not nearly as rare as Dr. Colby assumes. Approximately 28 turbine incidents have been reported in the last year and Ontario has experienced two.
As for stating that victims are relaying a “subjective” experience from living near turbines I believe is at minimum unfounded and despite reported problems within his own municipality, it appears that Dr. Colby is ignoring the fact that people are suffering.
— Colette McLean Harrow