January 19, 2009
Picton, Ontario, January 15, 2009
200 Picton area residents braved frigid temperatures Thursday night to hear about the serious health risks associated with Industrial Wind Turbines.
Dr. Magda Havas Ph.D., Associate Professor of Environmental and Resource Studies at Peterborough's Trent University and one of the world's leading research experts in the areas of electromagnetic pollution, radio frequency radiation, ground current and dirty electricity delivered alarming warnings about the dangers to human and animal health, posed by Industrial Wind Turbines.
Dr. Havas was the featured speaker in Picton. Havas identified two significant problem areas that pose substantive threats to the health of those living or working in proximity to wind turbine developments – Infrasound or Low Frequency Sound emitted by the turbines themselves and both Dirty Electricity and stray voltage related to the electricity produced by turbines.
The human body feels and reacts to sound waves that we cannot hear. These waves, in the low end of the sound spectrum (under 20 Hz), are well documented to cause nausea, joint pain, insomnia, depression, agitation, increased blood pressure and possible heart problems. It is also a major cause of Vibroacoustic Disease which can lead to vision problems, digestive problems, cardiovascular problems, and circulatory difficulties.
Since infrasound can carry over very long distances, Dr. Havas says that the jury is still out on how far away from people Industrial Wind Turbines should be located. She quoted the French Academy of Medicine guidelines which call for a minimum setback of 1.5 kilometers and Dr. Nina Pierpont of New York State, who has done comprehensive research into turbine related illnesses, who calls for a minimum of 2 kilometers.
But Dr. Havas was quick to point out that infrasound is not the only danger to local residents posed by wind turbines. She is particularly concerned about the impacts of "Dirty Electricity" also a byproduct of Wind Turbines in Ontario, "… the worst part of it is that it could all be eliminated with proper design and care", Havas said. "However, there is a cost involved….do you think that they will spend the money necessary to correct a problem that they refuse to admit even exists?"
Some of the symptoms created by Dirty Electricity in the home resemble those caused by infrasound. They include nausea, sleep disorders, headaches, dizziness, tinnitus and irregular heart beat. Havas has done important research into this area and studies have identified substantially increased rates of cancers, increased blood sugar among some diabetics, skin sensitivities, and other equally disturbing conditions.
Havas' presentation followed that of Bill Palmer a Professional Engineer with experience in risk assessment and public safety. Palmer identified the fact that Hydro One has setback guidelines to protect their critical Hydro lines from possible turbine damage but the Ontario Government has put no setbacks in place to protect people. "Hydro requires a setback of 500 meters from their most important lines – to protect against mechanical damage from a turbine collapse or blade failure", Palmer said. "Unfortunately, no such guidelines are in place for public safety to protect people traveling on roadways, in their fields adjacent to a turbine, or in their homes…..There are no guidelines in place to protect citizens from these same mechanical risks that Hydro One has setbacks for. He went on to show how the calculation of the setback required for noise from wind turbines needed to take into consideration the change in wind profile at night, the cyclic nature of wind turbine noise, and the low frequency component of wind turbine noise.".
Moderator, Dr. Robert McMurtry, founding Assistant Deputy Minister of the Population and Public Health Branch of Health Canada and special advisor to Roy Romanow during the Romanow Commission, expressed concern about the lack of public protection in place. He agreed with Palmer and Havas that Industrial Wind Turbine developments must be controlled and that the current Public Health Guidelines concerning setback distances must be reassessed. Even the recommended setback distances of 2km may not be appropriate – epidemiological studies are necessary to set the record straight.
In addition, government has a responsibility to ensure public protection from dirty electricity by establishing guidelines prohibiting ground current from Industrial Wind Turbines.
For more information contact:
Wind Concerns Ontario