Edward Beeksma and Kathleen Hegedus-Beeksma
Submission to Health Canada Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study, 2012
Dr. David S. Michaud, PhD
Thank you for undertaking to study the effects of industrial wind turbines on human health. This is an issue that has long been a concern in our community.
When we first learned about the possibility of several wind turbines being located near our home, my husband and I went to nearby Wolfe Island to see for ourselves what this would be like. What we experienced was worse than we expected. We measured off 500 metres with our car’s odometer. The turbine noise was so loud that we could not believe that anyone would consider siting a turbine this close to anybody’s home, yet 550 metres is the current legislated distance. We moved to 1000 metres to see if this would be better. There was no significant improvement. Even at 1500 metres there were two clearly discernible noises: the swoosh of the blades and a mechanical sound from the motor in the hub. We could not imagine living even 1500 metres away from one of these industrial turbines.
Since that visit to Wolfe Island we have heard and read the stories of numerous victims of wind project developments. After our day at Wolfe Island, we could easily empathize with the people who were suffering in their homes, or who had left their homes because the situation had become so intolerable for them. It is unacceptable that people should be made to endure such misery in their own homes – or abandon their homes – for the sake of corporate profits.
While we are pleased to see this issue being given scientific consideration, we are concerned that Health Canada is conducting the study, since Health Canada is on record as supporting the wind industry. We feel that the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) should be responsible for directing the process via a request for proposals from Canadian universities and research institutes.
Additionally, the design team should include the dedicated professionals who have already spent a great deal of time investigating this issue, including: Dr. Robert McMurtry, M.D., Carmen Krogh, BSc Pharm., Dr. Magda Havas, and Dr. Nina Pierpoint. The abundance of research they have already compiled on the effects of wind turbines on human health is an asset to this study.
Finally, it is imperative that this study include people who have left their homes, especially those who have been placed under a “gag” order. Their experiences are instructive because they’re the ones who have first-hand experience with exposure.
Meanwhile 300 more families in Prince Edward County (and thousands more across the province) are threatened by potential developments. Since the results of this study will not be released until 2014, it seems the only responsible course of action is to delay further developments until the health effects evidence has been presented. We urge you to call for and support a moratorium on any further wind turbine development until after the findings of this study are released in 2014.