PORT HOPE — Manvers Wind Concerns representatives have asked the local heath unit to support the group’s fight for in-depth investigations into potential adverse health effects from wind turbine exposure.
At the April 21 Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit board meeting, Pontypool residents and Manvers Wind Concerns board members Dave Bridges, Anne Johnson, and Carmen Krogh, a retired pharmacist from Killaloe, asked the board to support their request for Health Canada to set up studies to determine whether living close to industrial wind turbines presents a public health risk. The board instructed staff to examine the information submitted by the delegation to see what role, if any, the health unit could have regarding the request.
Ms. Krogh said a self-reporting survey on the adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines conducted by WindVOiCe (Wind Vigilance for Ontario Communities) and presented to Standing Committee for the Green Energy Act in September 2009, goes beyond the anecdotal.
“More people than you realize have been forced out of their homes,” she said. “I have a high level of concern for these people. There is legislation in place to determine where wind turbines should go, but never any studies from a health safety perspective.”
The survey reported a variety of health problems associated with wind turbine exposure, including quality of life reduction, depression, sleep disturbances, stress, cognitive disorders, high blood pressure and cardiac vascular impacts, said Ms. Krogh. Most disturbing is there are no studies on long-term exposure, especially on infants, growing children, and the unborn whose mothers are exposed, she said.
“I encourage you all, do your own reading,” said Mr. Bridges. “The setbacks (of 550 metres) must be increased. Australia is looking at two kilometres.”
The WindVOiCe survey recommended the Ontario government evoke the precautionary principle and halt further wind development until authoritative guidelines based on the best available science are in place; the Manvers Wind Concerns representatives said they agree with this recommendation.
“Health and preventing health problems is your responsibility,” Ms. Johnson said. “This is absolutely a public health issue. I’ve read and read and read and I am convinced wind turbines shouldn’t mix with people.”
After the meeting, medical officer of health Dr. Lynn Noseworthy said wind turbine legislation is set by Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure under the Green Energy Act, 2009 while regulations under the Act are enforced by the Ministry of the Environment.
“So wind turbines are not within our (health unit) mandate, from that perspective,” said Dr. Noseworthy. “However, staff will examine the issue and report back to the board.”