Industrial PlagueWed, 10/14/2009 – 10:56 – Sherri Lange

Hi again from Toronto. Toronto, along with Cleveland, Ohio, and NY Power Authority, to name a few, is fighting to be “FIRST” to industrialize our Great Lakes with wind turbines.

I’d like to start with a recent quote from Minister Smitherman, Minister of Energy for Ontario, one our most aggressive proponents for wind turbines in the Lake. “There is no convincing evidence that wind turbines located a few hundred meters from a dwelling negatively affect health” (Toronto Star, May 11/09). It is interesting to note that Minister George Smitherman does not have post-secondary education. Yet he and the Premier appear to not comprehend the mounting evidence for serious medical disruptions, even at the molecular levels, nor do they appear to be willing to grant Dr. Pierpont and others the benefit of their rather lengthy and prestigious medical studies. Dr. Pierpont is a graduate of Yale (National Merit Scholar), Princeton, Behavioural Ecology, and Johns Hopkins, MD., as well as numerous post-graduate distinctions. Dr Pierpont calls turbine related health disruptions and diseases, “an industrial plague.”

Without going into huge local detail, suffice it to say that many local politicians, even at the Ministerial and Premier level, are appearing blind to the array of medical evidence from individuals who express that they are indeed affected by “wind turbine syndrome.” Nina Pierpont, Dr. Robert McMurtry, equally distinguished in Canada’s medical fields (Health Council of Canada, appointment to Roy Romanow’s Commission on the Future of Health Care in Ontario), are some of the experts who attest to the wide range of affects of turbines on people (and animals) who happen to be too closely located to turbines.

Linda Jian: Heart Lake in Brampton, Canada

Linda Jian: Heart Lake in Brampton, Canada

“Ernie Marshall at first supported the wind farm that was placed near his home near Goderich, Ont. However, he also says that once the turbines got rolling, his health began to suffer.

“I had problems with my heart, with my eyes, my digestive system,” Marshall told CTV News. “It traumatizes your whole body.”

Dr. Nina Pierpont, a pediatrician in upstate New York, has interviewed dozens of people who live near windmills in Canada, the United States and Europe.

Her soon-to-be released book, “Wind Turbine Syndrome,” documents the litany of health problems experienced by some people who have wind farms near their homes.

Pierpont believes that with the growth of wind farms near residential areas, Wind Turbine Syndrome “likely will become an industrial plague,” she states on her website.

Scientists have only begun studying the phenomenon. Some early findings suggest that wind turbines create a high intensity, low frequency sound that may have an effect on the body. Not only can the sound potentially cause debilitating illness, some researchers believe the vibrations the sound causes in the inner ear may lead to vibro-acoustic disease. That can cause dizziness, nausea and sleep disturbances.”

Vibro-acoustic disease, has its own array of troublesome features: recent studies show it to actually cause molecular damage. In a paper presented in Portugal by Dr. Mariana Alves-Pereira, an Acoustic Engineer, she states that “….These results irrefutably demonstrate that windmills in the proximity of residential areas produce acoustical environments that can lead to the development of VAD (Vibro Acoustic Disease) in the nearby home-dwellers.In order to protect Public Health, ILFN-producing devices must not be placed in locations that will contaminate residential areas with this agent of disease” (ILFN is Intrasound Low Frequency Noise).

According to Dr Lu Lombardi, a local MD here in Scarborough Bluffs who has spent several hundred hours surveying the existing medical and epidemiological studies on Wind Turbine Syndrome, the effects at the molecular levels, the distruptions to cardiac health, the individual sensitivies of children and the elderly, must be listened to carefully. We cannot have upwards of 5% of our vulnerable populations treated as “collateral damage.”

So here we have in a nutshell two diverse opinions on infrasound and the dangers of placing turbines too close to residential areas. One is Minister Smitherman’s account of “no convincing evidence,” and the other a rapidly accruing mountain of anecdotal and molecular and acoustic study that shows quite the opposite. In the case of the proposed project of 60-100 mammoth turbines just off a sensitive coastline, 1.5 to 2 km (which is 1.2 miles only) away from a heritage site, an ecological rich area, a migration route, and of course, a dense population, there appears to be good cause for alarm.

And there appears to be a gold rush mentality going forward with respect to the possible industrialization of our Lakes. It’s happening fast, with so many cities longing to be “first.”

Offshore setbacks of turbines are in great discussion, I understand, on both sides of the border right now. Ontario is “in discussion”. But Toronto is telling communities that a setback even of 1 km might be feasible…that is only .62 of a mile! Perilously close to homes, as perched on the Bluffs, these turbines will virtually be staring in the bedroom windows of residents in my neighborhood. Michigan has clearly studied the setback appropriateness in more depth. Their setback for shorelines is 6 miles, 5 miles for threatened or endangered species, and 13 miles for national parks. Quite a difference from Ontario’s current proposal for a meagre1 to 1.2 miles (2km) without, so far as I am aware, any other qualifiers such as endangered species or national park shorelines.

All of this is by way of saying, we need to link communities around the Great Lakes that will actively argue for zero tolerance for disturbance of habitat (that includes air and water). Since so many of the arguments that MIGHT encourage us to put wind turbines in our drinking water appear to be myths, many of us now know that these discussions should not be about setbacks at all. Zero Tolerance for Industrialization of the Great Lakes.

Arguably, one of our largest threat to all species, including human, is loss of habitat. Air and water are a consummate part of that habitat.

The health issues are among the few filaments of dissention that our Provincial government appears willing to discuss or hear about. Communities this side are logging on to that issue by the thousands, and preparing to grapple with the techniques of dislodging information-poor politicians. We hope that other knowledge rich communities will bank on, and tell their governments that there are better ways to solve world problems: conservation anyone?

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