A nurse comments to Health Canada on proposed study
Comments were due last week on the proposed industrial wind turbine noise and health study. As we understand, there were plenty of them!
Here is our own comment:
September 7, 2012
TO: David S. Michaud, Principal Investigator, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety, Health Canada
Re: Comment on Health Canada Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study
From: Nurses for Safe Renewable Power
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.
Note that we call for nursing input and participation to the study. We’re betting the RNAO hasn’t been contacted, and won’t be, due to their unwavering devotion to the Ontario Liberal government’s Green Energy Act (with its many, many documented flaws) and their refusal to listen to anyone but the vested interests such as CAPE and the Ontario Clean Air Alliance. “Standing up for health” indeed.
And here is a comment from an Ontario Nurse Practitioner. Note that she is speaking from personal experience with clients, and that her own family is about to feel the impact of industrialization by wind turbines.
Dear Dr. Michaud:
I am writing this letter with great difficulty. How do I convey in words the importance of coming to the only logical conclusion in regards to the building and operations of Industrial wind turbines?
A full moratorium must be implemented while the questions and issues identified are being investigated by research projects such as the Health Canada Study,
My community, my family are facing the imminent construction of over 200 wind turbines that will encircle my home and farm in the counties of Haldimand Norfolk. My knowledge of the harm caused by wind projects is both professional and personal. Professionally I am a Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner and have used these skills advocating on the behalf of my neighbouring communities in Norfolk County. I have attached some of my letters and presentation material for your review.
What I am struggling with is how to contribute to the discussion- not just by adding my voice as the research project gets underway- but to help create an immediate moratorium for Industrial wind projects. I have started this letter on many occasions but have never completed various drafts as all seemed inadequate to express my sense of urgency.
The Health Canada Study is already mirroring the issues of the University of Waterloo study :
- narrow hypothesis of causative pathway
- no mechanism for those people impacted to directly shape the research design and implementation
- concerns about transparency and bias
and many other issues which I know have been eloquently addressed by other commenters and researchers as they have shared their letters of comment with me.
My struggle is essentially one of:
“Ethics” How can a researcher continue to study a problem- when it causing such pain and suffering?
My knowledge is direct and derived from case histories of clients who I have advocated for- from observation of the anger, pain, tears of those already forced to endure exposure to wind project operations.
I support research that gives true knowledge and understanding and I also support the call for a public inquiry.
Harm is occurring, will continue to occur. It must be stopped.
Listen to the voices of those affected. The evidence of this harm lies in the testimonies of the people.
A moratorium must be enacted immediately while research seeks to understand the causation mechanism.
Linda J Rogers RNEC
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