Ontario Medical officer will study “health effects of living near wind turbines”

“[Dr. Hazel] Lynn said she changed her mind about the possible relationship between illness and living near wind turbines because of a growing body of evidence in the medical literature. She says it is plausible that health is disturbed by low-frequency infrasound.

“‘And it’s very consistent throughout the world. When people live closer than a kilometre, then the complaints start to rise,’ she said.”

by Don Crosby, Owen Sound Sun Times
The medical officer of health for Grey Bruce is preparing a proposal for a study of the health effects of living near wind turbines.  Dr. Hazel Lynn said in an interview Thursday that she’s been asked by the health unit’s board of directors to prepare a report on what’s possible for a study of the Grey Bruce region and estimated cost.

She said the options are somewhat narrow and revolve around comparing the effects on residents at increasingly greater distances from wind turbines.

“What you do is measure the effects at a kilometre, a kilometer and a half and two kilometers and try to do as complete a survey as possible if you don’t have a big population of everybody within those concentric rings,” Lynn said during a visit to Bruce County council to take in the inaugural meeting on Thursday.

Information would be gathered through a questionnaire, which has been tried in many other places around the world.

Lynn would like to conduct the survey in several communities that have wind turbines. She wonders if topography is a factor.

“Some communities seem to have a lot more problems than others, and that might begin to increase our knowledge of siting when you’ve got irregular fields, and up hills and down valleys, which seems to aggravate the problem,” said Lynn, who ruled out conducting physical examinations or chemical tests to corroborate symptoms.

“Sleep disorders—you could get people to keep a sleep diary, but there’s no blood test I can do to test whether you’re sleeping or not. Similarly nausea—it’s a very subjective measure. There’s no test I can do for that,” she said.

Elevated blood levels of cortisol, a steroid hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress can be measured with blood tests, but many things can cause stress, she noted.

“If you have a nasty drive like I did to get here today, I’m sure my cortisol levels are up,” she said.

The information gathered in a study in Grey-Bruce would add to a growing body of evidence accumulating worldwide.

Lynn said it would take several years to acquire enough scientific information to detect any patterns and produce conclusive findings.

“It took 40 years to prove smoking caused lung cancer and we knew it long before that,” she said.

Lynn said it could cost upwards of $250,000 to hire a researcher, prepare a questionnaire and involve people to conduct the study and analyze the data.

This type of study has been done several places before, so the study design is readily available.

Lynn said she changed her mind about the possible relationship between illness and living near wind turbines because of a growing body of evidence in the medical literature. She says it is plausible that health is disturbed by low-frequency infrasound.

“And it’s very consistent throughout the world. When people live closer than a kilometre, then the complaints start to rise,” she said.

Lynn will present her report and recommendations at the January health board meeting in Owen Sound.

13 thoughts on “Ontario Medical officer will study “health effects of living near wind turbines”

  1. Thank God there is at least one Medical Officer of Health in Ontario that is doing her/his job to protect the health of the public!

  2. “What you do is measure the effects at a kilometre…”

    Hmm. Given Ontario’s setbacks, maybe start closer!

  3. Please forgive the pickiness of targetting the timing of taking cortisol levels but, how about taking them at the time of rising after a body is “supposed” to have had “a good night’s sleep”.

    Not being an epidemiologist, but having studied anatomy, physiology, chemistry, physics shoulder to shoulder with med students and students planning to be druggists, these are some suggestions for consideration.

    Holter monitoring of B.P. for a week at a time so that a pattern of day/night variations among people who live surrounded by IWT’s is compared to those living in environments having ~ 25 dBC sound levels night / > 35 dBC daytime would also be measurable and revealing.

  4. “Sleep disorders—you could get people to keep a sleep diary, but there’s no blood test I can do to test whether you’re sleeping or not. Similarly nausea—it’s a very subjective measure. There’s no test I can do for that,” she said.

    How about doctors start with believing what people are saying for once and then disproving it if thats what you feel is necessary. I am very tired of this continued burden of proof being placed on people who are already ill to the point that they have to leave their homes. For how many more years must they be abused by the very people who could be helping them?
    WE don’t have time for a long term study. These people need help right now.
    There are studies that can be done immediately at far less that the 250,000 price tag and I can guarantee that any level of government participation is not going to be welcomed by any victim at this stage. Must be independent. The end.

  5. The Ontario government will look for every delaying action they can find. If it takes 10 years for health studies so be it. By that time the turbines will be installed anyway. Or so they think!

  6. We have two camps when it comes to Wind Turbines, those that want them and those that do not. However, I would first like to say to the latter that Dr. Hazel Lynn has not exactly come full circle regarding her views on wind turbines.

    The Ontario Liberals are fast becoming aware that more and more residents of Ontario are becoming aware of the fact that wind farming is useless.

    Let me make this perfectly clear Wind Warriors, if there is going to be any studies done, on the health effects of those living near wind turbines, then the type(s) of studies have to be conducted by individuals who know exactly what they are doing and that have been agreed upon by qualified persons that represent both camps or groups.

    If anyone thinks for a moment that information gathered via questionnaire will suffice as a study they have rocks in their head. I am not a doctor nor do I claim to be but there are people out there now that are sick* and that are living in the confines of a wind farm. This is where the studies are to first take place. Find out exactly what is making these people sick then bring the test subjects to live in a home where people have become ill.
    This would be a true study. All that will result from Hazel’s questionnaire will be a waste of a quarter million of tax payers dollars and the conclusion will be that people in or near wind farm facilities are only suffering from the NIMBY syndrome. Questionnaires are anonymous and can be manipulated to suit the purposes of those footing the bill or simply ignored if the results are not favorable. What is needed in this argument are true facts* that cannot be disputed by either side. If tax payer dollars are going to be spent then it should be spent doing it right but when you think about it what has the Ontario Liberals been doing right since coming to power?

    * If anything, ask yourself, this one question, why has Dr. Lynn “ruled out conducting physical examinations or chemical tests to corroborate symptoms?”

    The answer, they are not interested in the truth, with such facts, that would prove them wrong, regarding health issues created wind turbines.

  7. Agreed.
    Thankfully, what we do have are very well respected and experienced health professionals outside of the government that have been working full time on this issue, have talked to victims and who are far more trustworthy than anyone that works for the government.
    Hear that government??? No research chairs! No fake questionaires! No government!
    I still cannot fathom how these ministry officals are so amoral that they continue to knowingly cause harm.
    Who the h%#l voted them in?

  8. Mr. Alias…

    Uh, the studies to which you elude have already been conducted. The most in-depth
    was done by Dr. Nina Pierpont. Additionally, two acoustical engineers did a field test
    back in 2008 using ISO test methods and ANSI certified equipment.

    http://www.savethebluffs.ca/archives/files/kamperman-james-8-26-08-report.pdf

    Suffice it to say, this empirical data does not support assertions made by the greenies who make every effort to discredit these studies.

    You will note in the majority of proponent literature, “C” weighted measurements although mentioned are specifically ignored. Without exception, all measurements provided use the dBA scale. Even the WHO acknowledges that when measuring industrial noise sources, dBC measurements are the most useful. Although this report from CanWEA talks at length about “G” weighting’ and completely ignores the WHO recommended “C” weighting. But the charts at the end of the report are only “A” weighted measurements:

    http://www.canwea.ca/images/uploads/File/CanWEA_Infrasound_Study_Final.pdf

    Now… There are many different ratings for decibels (dB) go here for an explanation:
    (good luck)

    http://info.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Workshop/advice/bels/index.html

    This “infrasound” has got the greenies so scared; CanWEA has proposed that any
    reference or requirements for infrasound emissions be removed from any and all
    regulations.

    Gee, I wonder why?

    You may not be able to actually hear these frequencies but they will make your bowels move, your heart beat erratically and your house vibrate! But NO! it can’t hurt you!

    AARRGGHH!

    B.B.W.

  9. I agree that there is no excuse for why our government hasn’t already provided funding for the types of physiological monitoring suggested by Johana. Low frequency sound resonates in the body producing chemical changes, and affecting sleep, so it seems plausible that these effects could be measured with the right equipment and a bit of commonsense.

    However, surveys can be a legitimate science as well. Dr. Michael Nissenbaum presented his findings at the International Symposium on Wind Turbines and Adverse Health Effects in Picton, Ontario. Here is an abstract of his presentation, which is found here: http://www.windvigilance.com/mars_hill.aspx

    “Preliminary findings of a controlled study (Mars Hill, Maine) being conducted by Dr. Michael Nissenbaum to investigate potential negative health effects concludes that adults living within 1100 meters of industrial wind turbines suffer high incidences of chronic sleep disturbances and headaches, among other somatic complaints, and high incidences of dysphoric psychiatric symptomatology, compared to a control group living 5000-6000 meters away. This controlled study is a work in progress.”

    Dr. Nissenbaum’s methods are validated, replicable, and reliable, and used a control group, which exposed the very solid statistical correlation between proximity to wind turbines and certain adverse health effects.

    If there remains any doubt (at the government, the wind industry, or the ignorant public) that wind turbines could possibly produce adverse health effects, surveys are an easy, fast, cheap, and reliable way of showing that yes, more study is needed to better understand the problem. It is a good starting point (if a bit late), and I commend Dr. Lynn for the steps she’s already taken, and the Pandora’s Box she has certainly opened.

  10. Your never ever, going to get a government to admit they were/are wrong. There have been more studies conducted than can be counted on two hands but the governments around the world who bought into wind energy technology will never recognize them.

    The two groups mentioned need to first be able to come to the table together. Figure out this step and the remaining steps will fall in place. If these two groups can come to the table, then concerns, can be addressed on both sides about the appropriate studies to be conducted.

    Studies, that are to be conducted, that have not been mutually agreed upon, do not mean JACK S__T. However as tax payers we do have a say on how are tax dollars are to be spent, you and I can make the request, will they listen but we all know the answer to that one. All these studies will have to be brought before the courts first in order to be valued by a government, however in the courts there’s always one winner and one looser, so it is important to make sure that studies if conducted, are done properly.

    As for Hazel, more than likely she’s looking out for her best interest, maybe she’s thinking out side the box, into 2012?

  11. We should also think about the health effects of Environment Canada spending far too much time, money and computer power modeling Global Warming when we can’t forecast the weather.

    Here is what happens when you spend all your money on advocacy instead of doing your job of forecasting the weather…

    ******************************

    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/903040–environment-canada-admits-it-underforecasted-quebec-s-first-snowstorm?bn=1

    “But it’s kept falling, and falling — and, by Tuesday afternoon, it had buried cars and fire hydrants as 25 centimetres blanketed the city and the weather system was still going strong.

    Environment Canada meteorologist Rene Heroux admits the department’s computers didn’t do a very good job figuring out how bad the storm would be.”

    *****************************

    Funny — they claim they can forecast the climate for hundreds of years out — that they can predict the need for wind turbines…

    …and yet, a little snowstorm faked them out!

  12. What is one to expect when models usurp empirical data but “surprises” normally far removed from reality!

    From Dr. King’s now infamous report:

    2.2.2 Sound Exposure Assessment”

    “Little information is available on actual measurements of sound levels generated from wind turbines and other environmental sources. Since there is no widely accepted protocol for the measurement of noise from wind turbines, current regulatory requirements are based on modeling (see section 3.0).”

    Like I said: “far removed from reality!”

    B.B.W.

  13. I do not see anything of benefit coming from this public health office. They’ve already stated that they do not have the expertise, mandate or resources to look into this issue although they attempted to hold two public meetings with Dr. Ray Copes who told all attending that he had stood under the turbines in Shelburne on his way to the meeting and he was fine. This public health office has decided that 15% of the population is affected although they can’t tell you how they came up with that number. Throwing a survey out there does not consitute a ‘study’. Why does Lynn feel the need to dismiss cortisol measurement right away? Is it just another effort to confuse the public (Sussex Report)? What about the people who’ve already abandoned their homes (or worse) or who are bound by a gag clause? How will this survey ‘measure’ them?

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