Nurses for Safe Renewable Power
Submission to Health Canada Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study, 2012
We applaud Health Canada for their commitment to conducting research on the health effects of industrial wind turbines (IWTs). We have heard from many nurses whose clients are adversely affected by living in close proximity to IWTs. Some have been driven from their homes. Others are forced to remain in their homes and suffer as they do not have the financial resources to abandon their houses and seek a safer, healthier place to live.
This is occurring around the world. In the U.S., for example, public health officials in Brown County Wisconsin, have actually called for emergency funding to support re-location of people impacted by IWTs.
In view of the widespread proliferation of IWTs, especially in Ontario, we urge the federal government to support the precautionary principle and call for moratorium on further IWT installations until the Health Canada study has been completed.
In terms of the study design we note the following concerns and suggestions for change:
- expand the advisory panel to include people impacted by IWTs, nurses who practice in areas populated by IWTs as well as Ontario experts who have made significant contributions to the literature
- accept the fact that anecdotal information from people exposed to the turbine noise is important evidence of problems
- focus on infrasound or low frequency noise and the effects of exposure
- lengthen the period for sleep assessment beyond 7 days
- consider seasonal measurement of noise
- ensure all documents relating to the study are free from a pro-wind power development bias and they acknowledge the full extent of the research on health impacts of IWTs
- acknowledge that the literature up to now has been essentially literature reviews, and that clinical research of physiological effects of exposure to the unique environmental noise and infrasound produced by large-scale wind power generators is needed
- identify issues related to recruitment of participants especially given non-disclosure legal agreements developed by the wind power development industry
We believe nurses, especially those practising in community health in areas where IWTs are prevalent, are important stakeholders in this process and should have a role on the advisory panel.
The proposed study has potential to contribute to our understanding of the impact of IWTs and to decision-making that will protect Canadians’ health and safety. We appreciate the opportunity to comment.