Saturday, December 3, 2011

Funny Article

( I came across this article which I found quite amusing. I've put the funnier parts in italics and added some comments in brackets. I'm glad I don't have to write for the pro wind industry )

Wind Turbines and Health

december 03, 2011

When I became the acting medical officer of health for Chatham-Kent, little did I know that I would be swept headlong into controversy about harnessing the wind energy right here in our backyard.
Wind Turbines and Health
Three years ago, I was asked to help make sense of the conflicting information the local council was receiving about the effects of wind turbines on human health.

I researched the topic extensively and found no scientifically credible evidence that wind turbines eroded human health. I was then asked to produce a more extensive report that was issued by the Chatham-Kent Health Unit. Since then I have been asked to speak on a number of occasions about wind turbines and health, and I have collaborated on an international panel review on the topic with some of the biggest names in audiology and occupational health.

It is admittedly a complicated topic that has been made more complicated by the huge amount of misinformation that has been circulated. Wind turbines do not produce unique sounds in terms of intensity or characteristics. The sound intensity is virtually the same as what is found in normal urban environments. (The turbines are being placed in rural areas, not urban areas or towns, that's why we choose to live out here, to get away from noise! And tell me what hums and makes whoosh whoosh whoosh sounds non stop for twenty years ?)
There is also no convincing scientific evidence of an epidemiologic link between wind farm sound exposure and health problems. (However there are many indirect health problems and consequences, including stress and anxiety).
 However, a very small number of people believe otherwise; they've attributed illnesses of all kinds to wind turbines. There is no doubt that some people find the low level swishswish sound of wind turbines annoying. And these people claim that annoyance itself is a health effect, since annoyance can lead to stress and too much stress is bad. (That's what we have been saying ! Stress and anxiety is a contribiting factor to the health and well being of all persons ! Do we not have the right to good health?)
However, by such criteria, living anywhere in a town or city is a threat to health. (Turbines are being placed in rural residental areas, not in towns or cities. What man made threats to health are there if you currently live are in the countryside ?).

Wind power opponents continue to make claims about sickness caused by turbines, which they call "industrial" wind turbines, as that sounds more threatening. ( Sorry but a structure that is 40 storeys high with blades having the wing span of a 747 jet, making non-stop noises is "industrial". If you have you been to Wolfe Island, you will see that the farm fields have  been turned into an Industrial nightmare. )
However, 10 reviews, including reviews by Ontario's chief medical health officer, the Australian government, the Sierra Club and McMaster University have confirmed that there is no evidence of direct adverse health effects from wind turbines (sure the towers and blades may not fall on your head, but ask them about indirect health affects such as stress) when sited to comply with Ontario's noise regulations.
Furthermore, all the power generation alternatives except solarenergy are clearly worse than wind turbines in terms of health and environmental effects. That's especially true of coal-fired generating stations. According to a study prepared for the Ontario government, coal plants cause nearly 250 deaths and more than 120,000 illnesses (such as asthma attacks) each year in the province. (Yes, but you cannot can't stop the majority of coal generated smoke from the US from blowing into Ontario !).
So while I am sympathetic to concerns raised by local residents and agree that any projects must be sited in a way that minimizes impact on local residents, (well this is nice to hear) when it comes to energy choices for healthy communities, I am confident that we shouldn't be tilting at windmills. (Hyprocritical - you cannot call these windmills, they are wind turbines. Windmills are the historic pretty structures found in farmlands in Holland. Don't confuse the two.)

Dr. W. David Colby is acting medical officer of health in Chatham-Kent, and associate professor at the University of Western Ontario's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

IPPSO FACTO (Magazine of the Association of Power Producers of Ontario). November 2011, Volume 25, Number 5

By Dr. W. David Colby,