A serious problem worthy of further study

Dr. Carl V. Phillips, an expert in epidemiology and related health sciences, submitted this important testimony to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission in reference to the Commission's effort to establish siting standards for large-scale wind turbines.

His testimony is significant in light of the report released by the American and Canadian Wind Energy Associations that asserted that "the number and uncontrolled nature of existing case reports of adverse health effects alleged to be associated with wind turbines are insufficient to advocate for funding further studies."

Following Dr. Phillips' detailed review of existing literature, he arrived at a very different conclusion:

There is substantial evidence to support the hypothesis that wind turbines have important health effects on local residents. If forced to draw a conclusion based on existing evidence alone, it would seem defensible to conclude that there is a problem. It would certainly make little sense to conclude that there is definitely no problem, and those who make this claim offer arguments that are fundamentally unscientific. But there is simply no reason to draw a conclusion based on existing evidence alone; it is quite possible to quickly gather much more useful information than we have.

I admit to being new to this controversy and my studies have been on the content and quality of the reported science, and so there may be something hidden or political that escapes me. I have witnessed other researchers naively wandering into fields I have studied for many years, and being tricked into believing the political propaganda rather than the science. Thus I am aware of the potential limitations of understanding when someone is new to a subject matter. But as someone who specializes in trying to sort out competing epidemiology-related policy claims, I find it difficult to see how the evidence could fail to be adequate to suggest that there is a serious problem worthy of further study. The only apparent scenario that would lead to a different conclusion would be if much of the reported evidence of health problems were basically manufactured (subjects or researchers were overtly lying, or subjects were so intent on being negative that talked themselves into having diseases). But since such a scenario could only be established with further research, so even such a story leaves it impossible to justify the call to avoid further research, other than for the most cynical of motives: trying to suppress unwanted discoveries.

Dr. Phillips' full written testimony can be accessed at this link. The information he provided orally to the Commission can be viewed here.

JUL 9 2010
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