Help! – Is Anyone listening?

By | September 29, 2012

by Mark J. Cool
(Falmouth, MA)

Falmouth’s board of health (FBoH) recognized last March that a full health impact study of wind turbine effects was clearly necessary. At a February FBoH meeting, after listening to the neighbors list of maladies, the FBoH acknowledged possible health related problems stating that “things may quickly proceed from annoyance to sleep deprivation to health effect.” Another board member made the situation perfectly clear. He said “show me the facts.”

The FBoH has made a request, through MA Dept. Public Health(DPH), for a full epidemiological study to be performed by Boston University School of Public Health. To date, there has been no further action. The turbines continue their torturous turning.

The MA DPH’s budget has been cut by $92 million (16 percent) in FY10. Cuts to MA DPH environmental health and laboratory services directly impact their ability to provide technical assistance to towns like Falmouth.

The Massachusetts Environmental Code, Title I, 310 CMR 11.05(1) makes local boards of health responsible for enforcing protective action “whenever the interest of protecting the public health requires that ordinary procedures be dispensed with.”

By there own admission, Falmouth’s BoH understands atleast one thing. The wind turbine controversy is undeniably a health issue. Neighbors, I being one, are being hurt. No one knows why. No one knows if this is an honest to God health threat. Yet the turbine continues to turn and citizens in Falmouth continue to suffer and get sick.

The FBoH wants more time, wants state guidance, wants “facts”. Seemingly, time is all we have. It’s undeniable that we have neither guidance nor, most importantly, facts!

And here, Ladies and Gentlemen, is where all this time (18 month’s and counting in Falmouth) has brought us. Legislators have before them five (5) bills that, it is hoped, will ultimately provide the guidance and facts necessary to move toward a SAFE wind energy future. Boards of health and citizen alike, we want the state to sort the complex health details, help support it’s funding, and most of all, we want the “facts.”

Citizens of Falmouth can’t afford the sickness of “sleeping on it” another winter.

If the MA DEP and MA DPH were “on duty and on guard” would private citizens need to petition their own representatives to draft health bills for the public’s protection?

As I had urged my state representative Mr. Madden, “after all, the vital issue of citizen health and welfare should have no confines to local, state or federal venues.  It’s venue, rather, is the universal conscience of basic human rights.  Statesmen, Citizen, or Service-member, by our oath to this blessed Country and Commonwealth, we are (should be) bound to uphold basic Constitutional rights.

Peer Reviewed Papers – Health from Wind Turbine Effect

“Policy makers are demanding more information on the possible link between wind turbines and health in order to inform setback distances. Our results suggest that utility-scale wind energy generation is not without adverse health impacts on nearby residents.”

– Dr. Daniel Shepherd, et al. School of Public Health, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. Evaluating the impact of wind turbine noise on health related quality of life, (Journal of Noise and Health, Sept-Oct 2011)

“There is overwhelming evidence that wind turbines cause serious health problems in nearby residents, usually stress-disorder type diseases, at a nontrivial rate.”

Carl V. Phillips, PhD, Populi Health Institute – “The Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society. vol. 31 (Aug 2011) pp. 303-315

“Wind turbines cause annoyance in about 20% of residents living within what regulators consider an acceptable distance. Annoyance and sleep disturbance, in many of the 20%, has lead to adverse health effects.”

– Prof. John P Harrison, Prof. Emeritus Dept. Physics, Queen’s University – “The Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society. vol. 31 (Aug 2011) pp. 256-261

“There are clear and definable markers for adverse health effects before and after the establishment of a wind farm, and clear and agreed health effect due to stress after a wind farm has started operation.”

– Dr Bob Thorne PhD. Noise Measurement Services, Queensland, Australia – “The Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society. vol. 31 (Aug 2011) pp. 262-290

“The eagerness to move to wind power will result in a reluctance
to support research that may conclude that caution is required
when locating turbines close to residential communities.”

– Dr. Arline L. Bronzaft PhD. Noise Committee, Counsil on the Environment of NYC – “The Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society. vol. 31 (Aug 2011) pp. 291-295

“There is ample evidence to support the view that infrasound
could affect people. Thus, it is possible that peopleʼs health
could suffer when turbines are placed too close to their homes.”

– Dr. Alec N. Salt PhD, Washington University and Dr. James A. Kaltenbach PhD,
Lerner Research Institute – “The Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society. vol. 31 (Aug 2011) pp. 296-302

“The is a clear concensus that adverse health effects are indeed occurring in relationship to people living in the environs of industrial wind turbines.”

-Dr. Robert Y. McMurtry MD, Emeritus of Surgery, Univ. Western Ontario – “The Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society. vol. 31 (Aug 2011) pp. 316-320

“The negative psychological effect of disempowerment interacting with
the adverse health effects attributed to industrial wind turbines has
intensified the negative synergy of justice lost.”

– Carmen M. E. Krogh BScPharm – “The Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society. vol. 31 (Aug 2011) pp. 321-323

“Current methods used by government to evaluate licensing applications for industrial wind turbines do not meet most public health ethical criteria.”

– Dr. Martin Shain PhD, Prof. School of Public Health, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, Univ. of Toronto – “The Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society. vol. 31 (Aug 2011) pp. 346-353

“IWT noise at these two sites disrupts the sleep and adversely affects the health of those living nearby. Further research is needed to determine a safe setback distance and to investigate the mechanisms of causation.”

– Dr. Michael Nissenbaum MD et al, Northern Maine Medical Center. Adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines: a preliminary report (June 2011)

“More auditory physiologists need to become active in this area. Our field has let down both the engineering community and the public by not presenting what is known about the ear in a form that those outside the auditory neuroscience community can understand.”

– Dr. Alec Salt, Ph.D., Washington University School of Medicine. Can Wind Turbines be Bad for you? – Presentation to Boston Univ. Hearing Research Center (April 22, 2011)

“The number of reports and weight of evidence demonstrating impacts
on sleep quality and health of wind turbine noise from existing installations is such that it can be firmly concluded that present guidance to determine setbacks is inadequate.”

– Dr Christopher Hanning. BSc, MB, BS, MRCS, LRCP, FRCA, MD, University Hospitals, Leicester U.K. Wind Turbine Noise, Sleep and Health (April 2010) –

“The stateʼs failure to act responsibly on this issue is the equivalent of abandoning its responsibility to protect public health, which would leave the people with few options other than seeking remedy and redress through the courts”

– Dr. Michael Nissenbaum MD, Northern Maine Medical Center, Presentation to the
Maine Medical Association (March 2009)

Warnings Issued By Credible Institutions and Persons

“Must we wait until we prove every link in the chain of causation? In
protecting health, absolute proof comes late. To wait for it is to invite
disaster or prolonged suffering unnecessarily.”

– Dr. William H. Stewart, former Surgeon General of the United States, Conference on Noise as a Public Health Hazard

Sleep is a biological necessity, and disturbed sleep is
associated with a number of adverse impacts on health.

– World Health Organization (WHO 2007)

“Wind energy will undoubtedly create noise, which increases stress,
which in turn increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.”

– The National Institutes Of Health (NIH) – part of the US Department of Health and Human Services (2008)

“The harmful effects of sound related to wind turbines are insufficiently
assessed… constitute a permanent risk for the people exposed to them. The Academy recommends halting wind turbine construction closer than 1.5 km from residences.”

– French National Academy Of Medicine (2006)

“The most common complaint in various studies of wind turbine
effects on people is the impact on quality of life. Sleeplessness and
headache are the most common health complaints and are highly
correlated(but not perfectly correlated) with annoyance complaints.”

Minnesota Department of Health – May 22, 2009

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