by North American Platform Against Windpower in 2014. The following is their response to Health Canada’s “study” on Wind Turbine noise and health (2014)…
Read a comprehensive rebuttal to the Health Canada study compiled by Denise Wolfe with the assistance of “a number of senior medical researchers and scientists”: “Review of Health Canada Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study“.
Indeed, hours later, at most a day, thumbing its nose at victims of wind, numbering hundreds with thousands of serious complaints of widespread chronic sleep deprivation and other adverse health effects, and communities with lost or greatly depreciated homes and dead or reduced livestock, Ontario’s Liberals announced approval of a massive turbine array in Niagara, to install the largest turbines ever in Canadian history. NA-PAW notes the similarities to the Tobacco lobby, which utilized medical personnel to ignore medical evidence of harm and conduct their own research with results favourable to Big Tobacco. One ad, supported by research conducted by physicians, was purported to express that Philip Morris brand eased irritated throats, and “every case of irritation cleared completely or definitely improved.” Philip Morris soon became a major brand.
Health Canada’s turbine noise and health study was tailor made for CanWEA; the powerful wind industry lobby group. There are apparent conflicts of interest on the part of some scientists conducting the study, who may have commercial interests aligned with the wind industry or who have demonstrated a consistent bias towards it. The report starts with a message on the inevitability of the march of industrial wind, and expresses that “Globally, wind energy is relied upon as an alternative source of renewable energy. In Canada wind energy capacity has grown from approximately 137 Megawatts (MW) in 2000 to just over 8.5 Gigawatts (GW) in 2014 (CanWEA, 2014).”
So why is Canada’s Premier Health Agency, Health Canada (HC), [who are] supposedly protecting the health of Canadians, promoting wind power? What relationships have been forged, and for how long?
Quoting from CanWEA at the start of the study is ominous, and suggestive of widespread collusive acceptance of the industry by the Canadian Federal Health Department, ignoring the fact that the industry is increasingly widely being recognized as an international economic and environmental wrecking ball.
“For a watchdog federal health branch to suggest that there are no health effects from Wind Turbine Noise, when Ministry of the Environment Officials with firsthand knowledge have confirmed the problems and so too has the Environment Review Tribunal itself, is completely astounding,” said Sherri Lange of the North American Platform Against Wind Power (NA-PAW).1 “Try telling this to a family with family members who are chronically sleep deprived and unwell, unable to live and sleep in their own homes, that has lost 30% or more of its livestock, or who has for eight years been living in the shadow of multiple installations, and perilously near to a clearly dangerous substation. Try telling this to folks who have left their homes after being bought out and gagged by the developers.” Citizens are not being taken OUT of harm’s way, but increasingly placed directly in the line of fire.
Dr Sarah Laurie of Australia’s Waubra Foundation states:
“There is growing clinical and acoustic field evidence that despite the efforts of some state governments to deny or ignore these serious adverse health problems, that they do exist, and that the current wind turbine noise regulations and guidelines do not protect people from serious and predictable harm. Professor Hansen’s critique of the SA EPA noise guidelines with respect to his recent Waterloo acoustic survey is worth reading to understand why this is so.”
Indeed, Ontario residents and experts with direct knowledge of the serious health problems wrote vigorous letters to Health Canada imploring that an arm’s length approach be instituted, and that recognized international professionals be utilized and consulted.2 None of those suggestions were acted upon. Dr Robert McMurtry, Order of Canada, cautioned:
“Health Canada is NOT the agency to be doing the research. They are regulatory have very limited research capacity. Furthermore they are on record as supporting wind energy. This is too important a question to be addressed by science bureaucrats. The research should be conducted by CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research) which is the top health research agency in Canada.”
List of suggested consultants/experts given to Health Canada and Dr David Michaud:
Professor Phillip Dickinson, Acoustician, New Zealand; Barbara J. Frey BA, MA, and Peter J. Haddon, BSc, FRICS, Scotland; Dr Christopher Hanning, BSc, MB, BS, MRCS, LRCS, LRCP, FRCA, MD, Sleep Disturbance and Wind Turbines, UK; Professor Colin Hansen, Acoustician, Australia; Dr Magda Havas, BSc, PhD, Biological and Health Effects of Electromagnetic and Chemical Pollution, Canada; Richard James, INCE Acoustician, USA; Dr Mauri Johansson, Specialist in Community Health and Occupational Medicine, Denmark; Dr Sarah Laurie, CEO Waubra Foundation, Australia; Dr Henrik Møller, Acoustic Specialist, Denmark; Dr Michael Nissenbaum, MD, USA; Dr Carl Phillips, PhD, MPP, USA; Dr Nina Pierpont, author of Wind Turbine Syndrome, USA;3 Mr Robert Rand, Acoustician, USA; Dr Daniel Shepherd, PhD, Noise and Health Specialist, New Zealand; Dr Malcolm Swinbanks, Acoustician, UK; and Dr Robert Thorne, PhD, Health Sciences and Acoustics, Australia
Some of the problematic components of this study are:
- Lead researcher, Dr David Michaud, repeatedly ignores requests for interviews and study of affected persons and families; some of whom have abandoned homes; is it possible that Dr Michaud has too many unacceptable pro wind positions to undertake such a study?
- Other researchers have established or possible conflicts of interests: Dr Norm Broner of AU: conflicts of interest were undeclared by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council at the time, and were exposed in the Australian Senate by Senators Madigan and Back;
- Study is loaded with employees of the State, about 80% or more; the Federal and Provincial agendas are to push wind development;
- Children under 18 were excluded, despite clinical and research evidence of the special vulnerabilities of this age group;
- Using households as opposed to individuals accounts for a diluted and inaccurate assessment: limiting to one individual randomly selected from a household provides another dilution of meaningful reporting;
- Recognition that the word ‘annoyance’ trivializes the effects on health; and that excessive use of that word imbues the actual study with a subset of idiosyncratic individuals who are suffering not as part of a worldwide pandemic, but as merely annoyed by shadow flicker and noise; further subtext that annoyance is caused by non-participation in turbine hosting;
- Health Canada is well known for its support for wind power. Health Canada’s real role is to promote: “Respect for Democracy, Respect for People, Integrity, Stewardship and Excellence.” We cannot locate any mandate to protect the interests of industrial wind developers on top of the health of communities and residents.
Anti-wind groups in Ontario are cautioning that they will resoundingly respond to this flawed study/summary, and that world condemnation will follow. There are over 2000 anti-wind groups, and more than 350 in the North American Platform.
Public officials responsible for decisions made by Health Canada continue to espouse the now worn phrase: “This source of energy is viewed as a viable and environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels,” but it is now recognized that wind power always requires back up, including fossil fuels, and lots of it, and it does nothing at all to abate climate change or CO₂ levels. Indeed, it contributes to the complete devastation of the environment, including loss of species. “It is quite simply,” says Lange, “a large scale environmental and economic fraud.”
“We can be sure,” says Lange, “that the tobacco industry’s use of fraudulent advertising bears great resemblance to the wind turbine industry’s astonishing claims, rebroadcast by Health Canada: green, free, safe, and economically sound. None of the claims have turned out to have merit: not one. What we are left with is Love Canal and Philip Morris wrapped up together. People are literally living in acoustically toxic homes, and being told that Turbines are actually good for them. Residents are left with “irreparable harm,” whilst wind developers and their investors are raking in millions and billions in subsidies paid for by ordinary Canadians out of their power bills.
This Health Canada study is at best poor quality science, and a waste of $2.1 million in taxpayer’s funds. At worst, it is Health Canada Government propaganda masquerading as scientific investigation, sanctioning the ongoing abuse and torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of thousands of rural Canadians.
We call on Prime Minister Harper to institute a full, wide ranging and immediate formal investigation into all aspects of this Health Canada inquiry and immediate provision of all the data to interested parties so that thorough external peer review can occur. Until that happens, these study findings should not be relied upon.
For more information, please contact:
CEO North American Platform Against Wind Power (NA-PAW)
Founding Director, Toronto Wind Action
Executive Director, Canada, Great Lakes Wind Truth
VP Canada, Save the Eagles International
416 567 5115
Ontario Regional Wind Turbine Working Group
Esther Wrightman and Membership
Ontario Wind Resistance
Mothers Against Wind Turbines TM
Ontario Wind Action
Toronto Wind Action
Great Lakes Wind Truth USA and Canada
- nb. In 2018, the WHO updated its noise guidelines for Europe noting “stronger evidence of the cardiovascular and metabolic effects of environmental noise; inclusion of new noise sources, namely wind turbine noise…” that it includes as “one of the top environmental hazards to both physical and mental health and well-being.”
- see How Far Away is Safe?
- cf. peer reviews here