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The wind industry is dangerous to human health, posing risks to everything from dizziness and nausea to chronic stress and heart conditions
Lawrence Solomon, FR Comment, The Financial Post, November 25, 2014
A Canadian court will soon decide if wind turbines violate Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms by posing a risk to human health. Charter case decisions can be convoluted but the fundamental question of health at issue here is straightforward. Wind turbines, from all that is today known and by any rational measure, represent a risk to those living in their vicinity.
Although the wind industry and its government backers tend to dismiss concerns, the evidence of harm in communities that host wind turbines is overwhelming. Literally thousands of people around the world report similar adverse health effects, some so serious that owners abandon their homes. Studies of noise from turbines — though few in number, short in duration, tentative in their findings and conducted by interested parties — point to dangers. As if these weren’t enough, basic science sounds the alarm on wind turbines.
Wind turbines produce audible sound waves known to cause what medical science calls “annoyance,” a state of health that can lead to a constellation of illnesses called wind turbine syndrome (WTS). As Health Canada reported earlier this month, following a Statistics Canada survey it commissioned of people living in the vicinity of wind turbines, “[wind turbine noise] annoyance was found to be statistically related to several self-reported health effects including, but not limited to, blood pressure, migraines, tinnitus [ringing in the ears], dizziness” and sleep disorders. The annoyance was also found to be statistically associated with objective measurements of chronic stress and blood pressure. Health Canada’s bottom line: “the findings support a potential link between long-term high annoyance and health.”
The audible sound waves — these have a frequency above 20 Hz — may be the least of the worries faced by those living near wind turbines. The turbines also produce copious amounts of sound waves below 20 Hz, making them inaudible to the human ear and thus, say wind proponents, harmless. Yet sound at this low frequency, known as infrasound, should not be thought of as faint or weak. The U.S. military has studied the use of infrasound in non-lethal weapons. Many mammals — giraffes, elephants, whales — communicate with each other at infrasound frequencies, even when many kilometres apart. Powerful infrasound waves, in fact, explain how animals sense the coming of earthquakes well before humans do — and why animals fled to safety during the calamitous Sumatran and Japanese tsunamis of recent years.
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The wind power project that was proposed for the North Gower area was to be 8-10, 2.5 megawatt wind turbines. 1,000 homes would have been within 3 km of the turbines. No new project has yet been proposed under the new “procurement” process for large renewable power projects (which we don’t need) in Ontario.