Facts informing the APAI/SAVE AI decision making process – Health

APAI/SAVE AI support the aim of ensuring that our energy future includes the production and distribution of safe, affordable, reliable; environmentally sound energy resources. 

Below is the Environmental Noise Map of Amherst Island.  The sound spreads from the purple smudges (indicating a turbine location) out to the bright green which indicates a sound pressure level of 40 to 41 dBA.  The Legend does not specify if these numbers are averages, or maximum noise levels.  Professor John Harrison has provided Algonquin Power with a report which clearly explains why many of the turbines  will be out of compliance with Ministry guidelines. 

The blue (¾ complete) circles on the map indicate the potential on the island for a shadow flicker problem.  The recent (but up-dated) report from the Dept. of Energy and Climate Change in the UK  establishes the zone to be investigated as10 blade diameters from 130 degrees west to 130 degrees east.  This has been added to the noise contour map.   Stantec has stated that they did not undertake a shadow flicker analysis before publishing their draft site plan which establishes the locations of the wind turbines .  

Note the number of homes well within the circles, the number of homes within 2 circles and the whole village!  A full report is forthcoming.

Peer-reviewed Scientific Publications  

  • In 2010, 2011 and 2012 there have been numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications that clearly demonstrate a link between exposure to industrial wind turbine noise and harm to human health. Much of the most recent research is referenced in the attached 41 page letter.
  • Environmental noise, low frequency sound and infrasound from wind turbines have been shown to exert indirect effects on several human health parameters of importance. These include, but are not limited to: sleep disturbance, headache, stress, vertigo, tinnitus, visual disturbances, irritability, fatigue, nausea and “annoyance”. 

Bulletin of Science and Technology (2012) / Dr. Carl Phillips
  • Carl Phillips, Harvard Ph.D., is an independent and widely respected epidemiologist (public health expert) has studied the adverse health effects of IWTs extensively using the standard methods for collecting data from public health records.

    In a peer reviewed article in The Bulletin of Science Technology and Society, Mr. Phillips writes, "There is overwhelming evidence that large electricity-generating wind turbines...cause serious health problems in a nontrivial fraction of residents living near them."

    Mr. Phillips estimates that the adverse health reports from people who live near IWTs number at least in the many tens of thousands. As a point of comparison, Health Canada will use its regulatory authority to pull a drug from the market if only 20—30 individual adverse health reports are found, even if the drug has benefited many, many people. Apparently, the Health Canada recognizes that it is wrong for a drug company to profit from something that makes people sick.

Adverse Health Effects Produced by Large Industrial Wind Turbines Confirmed: Bruce McPherson (December 2011)

  • One of the most powerful forms of public health data is something called cross-over data. Cross-over data is actually a simple concept. When people are exposed to operating turbines, they become ill. When the turbines stop, they immediately begin to feel better.The importance of this type of data should be obvious. Many types of illness, such as cancer, cannot be studied in this way because the onset of illness is not known and it does not go away when the cause is removed.
  • The McPherson study, conducted by two independent, certified acoustic engineers in Falmouth, provides precisely this type of cross-over data about WTS. They were able to do this because they themselves became seriously ill within 20 minutes after they began to record (inaudible) turbine infrasound indoors. One of the most compelling findings of this study is that the powerful effect on the human inner ear created by infrasound is actually worse indoors.  The gold standard for any scientific study and measurement is repeatability and there is little doubt that the rigorous methodology of the McPherson study more than meets this bar

Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) - 2011

  • A 2011 Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) decision found that “The case has successfully shown that the debate should not be simplified to one about whether wind turbines can cause harm to humans. The evidence presented to the Tribunal demonstrates that they can, if facilities are placed too close to residents. The debate has now evolved to one of degree.”
  • The ERT decision mentioned above also found that “serious harm to human health” includes “indirect impacts (e.g., a person being exposed to noise and then exhibiting stress and developing other related symptoms).” 


  • The Ontario Government insists the setbacks between industrial wind turbines and “noise receptors” (i.e., homes and people) are safe and among the most stringent in North America. The Ontario setbacks are based on computer modeling, not real world clinical experience.  These “safe” setbacks have resulted Ontario residents being forced from their homes, frequently without compensation.  Furthermore, several dozen jurisdictions in North America have much farther setbacks.  A table providing detailed, referenced setback data is available here.

Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) May 2010 Report:  The Potential Health Impacts of Wind Turbines. 

  • This report is a very dated, 14 page literature review with no original research.  The report examines the direct heath of effects of IWT on heath and concludes; “The sound level from wind turbines at common residential setbacks is not sufficient to cause hearing impairment or other direct health effects, although some people may find it annoying.”
  • Direct Health Effect:  As stated in the CMOH report, a direct health effect from an IWT would be an effect along the lines of hearing impairment, or an injury resulting from a blade throw.  Clearly, direct health effects are not the main issue.
  • Indirect Health Effect:     The Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary defines and indirect health effect as: “involving intermediate or intervening parts or pathways, (example: stimulation of one eye elicits narrowing of the pupil of the other eye by an indirect reaction).  The CMOH report does not state that IWT do not cause indirect health effects.  In an interesting turn of phrase the report states; “while some people living near wind turbines report symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and sleep disturbance, the scientific evidence available to date does not demonstrate a direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.”  In fact, the report reiterates a lack of direct health effect while acknowledging that indirect health effects are being documented.  However, the report never addresses the large body of evidence that details the plethora of indirect health effects that can result from exposure to the noise generated by IWT.
  • Annoyance:  Annoyance is a term defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) that dates back to issues around airport flyways and highway noise factors.  Clinically speaking, “Annoyance” is defined as a feeling of discomfort that is related to adverse influencing of an individual or a group by any substances or circumstances. Annoyance expresses itself through malaise, fear, threat, trouble, uncertainty, restricted liberty experience, excitability or defencelessness.  With chronically strong annoyance a causal chain may exist between three following steps;    good health > annoyance > disease. So annoyance is very important.

World Health Organization (WHO)

  • The World Health Organization was established in 1948 as the specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for directing and coordinating authority for international health matters. One of WHO’s constitutional functions is to provide objective and reliable information and advice in the field of human health.  
  • Despite industry claims, at this point in time, the WHO has not made any recommendations with regards to what constitutes acceptable IWT generated noise levels.  However, it is a well-documented fact that IWT produce low frequency noise.  Following is the WHO position on low frequency noise found on page 61 of the WHO Guidelines for Community Noise.  The Ontario Government sound measurement for Industrial Wind Turbines is based on A-weighting.
  • If the noise includes a large proportion of low-frequency components, values even lower than the guideline values will be needed, because low-frequency components in noise may increase the adverse effects considerably. When prominent low-frequency components are present, measures based on A-weighting are inappropriate.”

Click Here for: Wind Turbine Health Study - Junk Science

Click Here for: British Medical Journal - Wind Turbine Noise: Seems to Affect Health Adversely and an Independent Review of Evidence is Needed (Mar2012)

Click Here for: The Bulletin of Science and Technology 2012  (Summary)

Click Here for: Wind Turbines and Proximity to Homes: The Impact of Wind Turbine Noise on Health a review of the literature & discussion of the issues / January 2012

Click Here for:  Infrasound: A Brief Review of the Toxicological Literature

Click Here for: The Dark Side of Green: Wind Turbine Accidents, Injuries and Fatalities

Click Here for: Noise & Health A Bi-monthly Inter-disciplinary International Journal // September - October 2011 / Volume 13 / Issue 54 Evaluating the impact of wind turbine noise on health- related quality of life 

Click Here for: The Bruce McPherson Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise Study: Adverse Health Effects Produced By Large Industrial Wind Turbines Confirmed December 14, 2011 

Click Here for: 10th International Congress on Noise as a Public Health Problem (ICBEN) 2011, London, UK:  Adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines: a preliminary report. 

Click Here for: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America / Volume 129, Issue 6, pp. 3727-3744 (2011); (18 pages)  Low-frequency noise from large wind turbines

Click Here for: Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society - Special Issue - Industrial Wind Turbines / August 2011 (Summary)

Click Here for: A Summary of new evidence:  Adverse health effects and industrial wind turbines / August 2011 / Carmen M.E. Krogh

Click Here for: Report by Dr Christopher Hanning. BSc, MB, BS, MRCS, LRCP, FRCA, MD. / April 2010 / Wind Turbine Noise, Sleep and Health

Click Here for: the Waubra Foundation Acoustic Pollution  Assessment Requirements - May 2012

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