UPDATE September 11, 2009: Carol Mitchell has been named Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. Mitchell will work in a stewardship role to provide overall direction and leadership for health care within the province.
My family doctor said, ‘Get out of that house or you’re going to die,'” said Wylds, adding that he now lives in Kincardine with his wife.
“I hope everyone in this room calls (Huron-Bruce MPP) Carol Mitchell who has been zero help to us,” said Glen Wylds.
A Ripley woman, who lives near her area’s wind turbine project and has been fighting to have her community’s health problems acknowledged by the provincial government, congratulated the residents of St. Columban for questioning two proposed wind projects before they’re built.
“We’ve suffered extreme health problems and we’re so proud of you as a community that you’re coming together to find out the truth,” Sandy MacLeod told the close to 400 people in attendance at an information meeting about wind turbines Thursday night in Seaforth.
“You’re taking the time to do the right thing for your health and your community. Well done,” she said.
The wind turbine information night, organized by Huron East Against Turbines (HEAT), also included presentations by Ripley-area electrical consultant Dave Colling and Carmen Krogh, a retired director of pharmacy at Edmonton General Hospital and a medical journal writer.
MacLeod, along with Helen Forster and Glenn Wylds, explained the health problems they’ve suffered since the Ripley wind project was erected two years ago.
“We lived for 32 years on our property and never had a complaint. I became sick three months after the turbines started,” said Forster, who described symptoms such as tinnitis, sleep disturbances, anxiety, stress, heart palpitations and hypersensitivity to noise.
MacLeod said she recorded her trouble sleeping night after night on the family calendar and dealt with her daughter’s digestive problems and family’s stress until she was concerned that her marriage might not survive.
“We all had trouble sleeping and we were all so grouchy,” she said.
Wylds said that while he was supportive of the wind project when 12 turbines went up a mile from his home, his family started getting sick and at first he never suspected the wind project as the cause.
But, after having his home tested by electrical consultant Dave Colling, Wylds’ family moved into a motel for six months. They moved back last July but because Wylds’ wife Brenda was suffering so much, he ended up buying another house in Kincardine.
He stayed on his farm but his health kept getting worse.”I went to the hospital with ulcers on my feet because I could barely walk and when they took my blood pressure, it was 217 over 124. My family doctor said, ‘Get out of that house or you’re going to die,'” said Wylds, adding that he now lives in Kincardine with his wife.
“The biggest problem is to get people to believe you,” he says.
All three said they’ve been told by real estate agents that their properties are unsellable.
“I hope everyone in this room calls (Huron-Bruce MPP) Carol Mitchell who has been zero help to us,” said Wylds.
Rob Tetu, a HEAT member, added that Mitchell told his group during a recent meeting that real estate values were actually going up in the Ripley area.
“She also said, ‘Give me one name of a person getting sick,'” he said.
Colling, who has been doing tests on electrical pollution on Ripley-area farms, said symptoms from dirty electricity or stray voltage usually develop within two months in houses near wind farms.
He showed charts from four Ripley homes near wind turbines which showed electrical pollution in their homes.
“What’s disgusting about it is there are 39 kilometres of collection lines in the Ripley project. They buried 30 kilometres and where they took it above ground, that’s where all the problems are and they won’t bury it,” said Colling.
Colling said he’s also tested homes near a wind project in Shelburne with the same results.
He said electrical pollution causes a condition called electro-hypersensitivity whose symptoms are dizziness, tinnitis, burning sensations, fatique, headaches, cardiac palpitations and pressure on the chest.
Colling said the French National Academy of Medicine is recommending the halt of the construction of wind turbines within 1.5 kilometres of residences and added that people living within 700 metres of wind turbines are getting sick in Germany, France, UK, Wisconsin and Nova Scotia.
He also said 100 university professors in Germany signed a manifesto in 1998 stating that more and more people are living unbearable lives near wind turbines.
“How can we force people out of their homes and nobody does anything?” he said.
Krogh, a director of publications and editor-in-chief of the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties (CPS), said she started to research the health effects of wind turbines after experiencing “horrible effects” when she was exposed to a wind turbine.
“I experienced vibration in my body. My head was painful and intense and I was queasy and dizzy. I can’t hear them (turbines) but I was sensitive to the effects,” she said.
Krogh said that while CanWEA (the Canadian Wind Energy Association) says that scientists conclude there’s no adverse effects to wind turbines, her research shows that people around the globe are experiencing the same health problems, with Japan calling the symptoms “wind turbine disease.”
Krogh said she and her colleagues are concerned about the provincial government giving people 15 days to prove serious and irreversible harm when appealing a wind project’s approval.
“You would have to have a stroke or be dead to prove that,” she said.
Krogh said that in all seven articles used by the province to prove the safety of wind turbines on human health, none of them talked to the patients.
“The medical community in the meantime has been accumulating an incredible number of health accounts,” she said.
She agreed with Dr. Robert McMurtry that there are no authoritative guidelines in place about safe and healthy setbacks.
“And, until there are, wind turbine construction should be stopped,” she said.
Krogh said that since Amnesty International considers sleep deprivation a form of torture, it’s “a very worrisome thing that’s happening” with wind turbines.
“Your inner organs are not meant to vibrate. My feeling is you’ve got a serious public health issue here. More studies are needed,” she said.
Krogh compared the situation to discovering the harmful effects of tobacco adding that there is no long-term investigation into the effects of wind turbines in 10 to 20 years.
“If we had this many problems with a drug, something would have happened. I’m very concerned that the provincial government isn’t doing much. The government of Ontario let wind turbines in but they didn’t do their homework,” she said.
Krogh said the victims of wind turbines are very brave for coming forward.
“When they started to in January, they were ridiculed. The medical community wants studies done so we can look after people. And, we need to be careful about not approving more. We can’t unscrew a multi-million dollar complex from the ground like a lightbulb,” she said.