Health concerns and the need for careful siting of wind turbines

At its monthly meeting held Tuesday, March 3, 2009, the Medical Staff of Northern Maine Medical Center unanimously approved the release of the following statement:

For Immediate Release:

Members of Northern Maine Medical Center's medical staff endorse the use of alternative energies.

We echo the concerns of the Medical Staff of Rumford Community Hospital as regards an increasing body of literature and reports from Canada, the USA, and particularly from Europe suggesting that the deployment of industrial wind facilities in close proximity to places where people live, work or attend schools results in negative health effects, including and especially sleep deprivation and stress.

We know, as physicians, that sleep deprivation and chronic stress can result in many consequential negative health effects, some of them serious, over the long term.

These effects arise not only from audible noise frequencies but also from persistent inaudible low frequency noise waves of a cyclical nature which are felt, but not heard. There are a growing number of scientific observations and studies suggesting that people living up to 2 miles away from these industrial wind farms may be affected.

Many European nations with more than two decades of experience with industrial wind factories have now implemented regulations stipulating setbacks of 1-1.5 miles.

In light of these growing, serious medical concerns, we propose a moratorium on the building of any such "wind farms" until more research is done on the health impact that such facilities will have on the communities surrounding such technology. These communities and the Maine DEP and Health Services must be allowed time to study and learn from the European and Canadian experiences, as well as from the many affected families in Mars Hill, Maine, and put into place appropriate regulations and ordinances, prior to expanding the wind industry in the State of Maine.

The State of Maine has a vast, unpopulated hinterland. There is little need to site industrial wind developments in proximity to residential communities if there is a risk of negative health effects. Quality of life, quality of place, and a healthful environment should be the right of all residents of Maine, including those of the rural north.

We also encourage the residents of Fort Kent, Maine, to exercise their rights and vote ‘YES' at the next annual Town Meeting on March 23rd to a proposal to establish a moratorium in Fort Kent on the permitting of industrial wind development until such time as an ordinance to govern their siting is in place.


Medical Staff, Northern Maine Medical Center

Nmmc Medical Staff Statement

Download file (84.8 KB) pdf

MAR 4 2009
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