The Sun Times, www.owensoundsuntimes.com
Unfortunately the research cited by Mr Robert Knox (“Some find turbines annoying but most don’t” — Feb. 5) is an industry-funded report. It was reviewed in Britain by the National Health Service (NHS) and found to have critical flaws: “methodological shortcomings”, and the fact that “the reviewing group did not include an epidemiologist.”
“Further research is needed,” it concluded. Why was clinical research of victims not carried out? How can an industry give itself a clean bill of health? The tobacco corporations used to put out reports verified by MDs that cigarettes were not a problem.
Mr. Knox understands only the general definition of “annoyance” as a rather insignificant irritation. But in medicine, “annoyance” is a special term indicating serious health implications. The World Health Organization (WHO) specifically lists annoyance and sleep disturbance as adverse health effects. Health Canada recognizes that annoyance, stress and sleep disturbance lead to other adverse health effects. The Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario and the Agency for Health Protection and Promotion both acknowledge that wind turbines may cause annoyance, stress and sleep disturbance. (windvigilance.com)
In the real world, these problems are being reported internationally — wherever wind turbines have been installed. Peer reviewed studies of European wind turbine facilities have documented “high annoyance and sleep disturbance in populations exposed to wind turbines.” (epaw.org)
Insomnia, headaches, dizziness and hypertension are the symptoms most commonly experienced. If there are no problems with wind turbines, why do the proponents object to an independent epidemiological study?
Alas, if only building more wind turbines would allow us to stop using fossil fuels for electricity generation! Unfortunately, the record of Denmark is not encouraging. According to Eric Reguly in the Globe and Mail (November 29, 2009), “There is no doubt that the Danes are world leaders in the development of wind energy. . . . But coal, the dirtiest of the fossil fuels, is still the most popular electricity-generating fuel. Last year it supplied 48% of Denmark’s electricity, a ratio that has varied little this decade. Since coal plants are used as backups for wind generators when the wind doesn’t blow, the plants are unlikely to be phased out. Coal, oil and gas together account for a not-so-green 70% of total electricity generation.”
In Ontario we are already building more gas plants to back up the new wind. You can learn more from windconcernsontario.org.
Keith Stelling, Southampton