Asked if wind farms are safe, Environment Minister John Wilkinson said, “Yes, and I say that if a wind farm is built in the province of Ontario under the new, strict minimum distance setback and maximum noise allowance setback, then according to the chief medical officer of health for Ontario, Dr. Arlene King, they are indeed safe.”
If Mr. Wilkinson and Dr. King feel Ontario’s set-backs are strict, and standards are adequate to protect health, perhaps they should have attended the International Symposium on Wind Turbines and Adverse Health Effects Oct. 29-31, where numerous independent scientists from several countries demonstrated just the opposite. Is it a coincidence that Ontario government and health officials did not attend this symposium to expand their knowledge beyond the literature reviews they tout as “proof” their policies could not be impacting health?
Is it true they were told not to attend, as the topics would not be “congruent with the government’s policy”? It is politically expedient for the scientific evidence to be ignored by the current provincial government in its rush to fill rural Ontario with wind turbines. We should all ask why they are hiding from the truth — the effects are being experienced in numerous communities already.
The evidence presented at the symposium by experts in ear physiology, sleep disorders, noise, infrasound and epidemiology demonstrated the mechanisms by which adverse health effects can occur in proximity to wind turbines. Infrasound is a significant component in the etiology of health effects being experienced, yet is completely ignored in Ontario’s regulations. Results from a case-control study in the U.S. will soon be pub-lished, showing a significant relationship between proximity to turbines and impacts on health, using standardized, validated health measurements.According to Carl Phillips, PhD (public policy, Harvard; professor of public health): “there is overwhe-liming evidence that there are health problems from turbines near residences.” According to Alec Salt, PhD, professor of otolaryngology, allowing turbines to be located 550 metres from people’s homes is “insane.”
The symposium presenters, attending on their own dime, assembled to share their findings and scientific expertise in an effort to better understand the phenomena being observed in wind turbine developments worldwide. They all shared genuine concern and a desire to prevent harm. Dr. King, Mr.Wilkinson and our provincial government would do well to follow suit. Our rural families deserve nothing less.
Joan Morris, MHSc (Community Health & Epidemiology) Woodstock