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Lawrence Solomon: Ill Winds Blow From Wind Turbines

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Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post

The wind industry is dangerous to human health, posing risks to everything from dizziness and nausea to chronic stress and heart conditions

A Canadian court will soon decide if wind turbines violate Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms by posing a risk to human health. Charter case decisions can be convoluted but the fundamental question of health at issue here is straightforward. Wind turbines, from all that is today known and by any rational measure, represent a risk to those living in their vicinity.

Although the wind industry and its government backers tend to dismiss concerns, the evidence of harm in communities that host wind turbines is overwhelming. Literally thousands of people around the world report similar adverse health effects, some so serious that owners abandon their homes. Studies of noise from turbines — though few in number, short in duration, tentative in their findings and conducted by interested parties — point to dangers. As if these weren’t enough, basic science sounds the alarm on wind turbines.

Wind turbines produce audible sound waves known to cause what medical science calls “annoyance,” a state of health that can lead to a constellation of illnesses called wind turbine syndrome (WTS). As Health Canada reported earlier this month, following a Statistics Canada survey it commissioned of people living in the vicinity of wind turbines, “[wind turbine noise] annoyance was found to be statistically related to several self-reported health effects including, but not limited to, blood pressure, migraines, tinnitus [ringing in the ears], dizziness” and sleep disorders. The annoyance was also found to be statistically associated with objective measurements of chronic stress and blood pressure. Health Canada’s bottom line: “the findings support a potential link between long-term high annoyance and health.”

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