Nurses for Safe Renewable Power

Looking for a healthy environment for everyone

Editorial in British Medical Journal March 8 2012: “Large body of evidence”

An editorial in the current edition of the British Medical Journal summarizes the research on noise and vibration (infrasound) produced by industrial wind turbines.

This is especially interesting the day AFTER a private member’s bill was defeated at Queen’s Park in Toronto, when a Member of Provincial Parliament asked for a halt to industrial power generation facilities until research in Ontario is done. The government was by turns insulting and demeaning, referring back to the Chief Medical Officer of Health report in Ontario from 2011–a report which has been criticized by multiple authors. The MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes Laurie Scott is a registered nurse; she stood up to the government and emphasized again and again, that health problems are a major concern with industrial-scale wind turbines.

The BMJ editorial, prepared by Dr Christopher Hanning and Alun Evans, ( full article at begins with the statement that “The impact of road, rail, and aircraft noise on sleep and daytime functioning (sleepiness and cognitive function) is well established. [WHO. Burden of disease from environmental noise. 2011] Shortly after wind turbines began to be erected close to housing, complaints emerged of adverse effects on health.”

The authors go on to report on a number of studies: “In a survey of people residing in the vicinity of two U.S. wind farms, those living within 375-1400 m reported worse sleep and more daytime sleepiness, in addition to having lower summary scores on the mental component of the short form 36 health survey than those who lived 3-6.6 km from a turbine. Modeled dose-response curves of both sleep and health scores against distance from nearest turbine were significantly related after controlling for sex, age, and household clustering, with a sharp increase in effects between 1 km and 2 km.[Nissenbaum, Aramnin, Hanning,2011] A New Zealand survey showed lower health-related quality of life, especially sleep disturbance, in people who lived less than 2 km from turbines.[Shephed, McBride, Welch, 2011]

“A large body of evidence now exists to suggest that wind turbines disturb sleep and impair health at distances and external noise levels that are permitted in most jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom. Sleep disturbance may be a particular problem in children,[WHO] and it may have important implications for public health. When seeking to generate renewable energy through wind, governments must ensure that the public will not suffer harm from additional ambient noise. Robust independent research into the health effects of existing wind farms is long overdue, as is an independent review of existing evidence and guidance on acceptable noise levels.” [Our emphasis]

This makes the Ontario government’s insistence that the health studies are done and the facts in absolutely appalling, and further, makes the Rgeistered Nurses Association of Ontario–our professional association–look close-minded. And, frankly, under the influence of the government and the corporate wind power development industry.

We assume this editorial was “peer-reviewed.”

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