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Health worries of wind farm opponents should be taken seriously by government

Wolfe Island has, in years, been roiled by division and debate over the wind turbines that now adorn (or deface, in the view of some) the island. And it isn't just there that controversy has swirled around the wind farm industry. Across Ontario, plans to erect turbines in rural communities are running into stiff headwinds. ...The truth is, though, that the wind farm industry is a young one, and we don't know that much yet about the health impacts.

Wolfe Island has, in years, been roiled by division and debate over the wind turbines that now adorn (or deface, in the view of some) the island. And it isn't just there that controversy has swirled around the wind farm industry. Across Ontario, plans to erect turbines in rural communities are running into stiff headwinds.

Some critics just don't like the look of the things, but others say the noise and vibrations the turbines produce affect the health of people living near them. They argue that turbines should have to be located farther from human dwellings than is the case now.

Ontario's government supports the wind farm industry as the province moves toward a greener energy future. The environment minister, Kingston's own John Gerretsen, has been dismissive of wind farm opponents, suggesting that self-centred not-in-my-backyardism by people who don't like the appearance of the windmills is behind the criticism.

But should concerns about possible harmful health effects suffered by people living close to wind turbines be cavalierly dismissed? What does the science say?

Well, one study funded by the Canadian and American wind farm industries concluded that the health problems associated with wind... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Wolfe Island has, in years, been roiled by division and debate over the wind turbines that now adorn (or deface, in the view of some) the island. And it isn't just there that controversy has swirled around the wind farm industry. Across Ontario, plans to erect turbines in rural communities are running into stiff headwinds.

Some critics just don't like the look of the things, but others say the noise and vibrations the turbines produce affect the health of people living near them. They argue that turbines should have to be located farther from human dwellings than is the case now.

Ontario's government supports the wind farm industry as the province moves toward a greener energy future. The environment minister, Kingston's own John Gerretsen, has been dismissive of wind farm opponents, suggesting that self-centred not-in-my-backyardism by people who don't like the appearance of the windmills is behind the criticism.

But should concerns about possible harmful health effects suffered by people living close to wind turbines be cavalierly dismissed? What does the science say?

Well, one study funded by the Canadian and American wind farm industries concluded that the health problems associated with wind farms were more psychosomatic than real. However, the source of the funding for that study will always make it suspect in the minds of many.

And Dr. Robert McMurtry, a former dean of medicine at the University of Western Ontario, believes that the health impacts of wind turbines are real. He wants the provincial government to undertake an independent epidemiological study. Amherst Island resident John Harrison, a retired Queen's University scientist, believes his research shows that the turbines really can harm human health.

Gerretsen has predicted that more wind farms will be built in eastern Ontario because the strong westerly winds in this area make it a good location for them, and projects have indeed been proposed for Amherst Island and Prince Edward County.

The truth is, though, that the wind farm industry is a young one, and we don't know that much yet about the health impacts (if any) of wind turbines. The science will evolve, and until it can be more conclusively demonstrated that the health impacts are nonexistent or minor, government and business should show a lot more consideration for the health concerns of people who don't want to be left twisting in the wind.


Source: http://www.thewhig.com/Arti...

JAN 21 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/24230-health-worries-of-wind-farm-opponents-should-be-taken-seriously-by-government
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