Turbines are affecting people: Dr. Hazel Lynn

Tracey Richardson — Owen Sound Sun Times — February 20, 2013

Of hundreds of credible studies around the world on wind energy, none conclude there is no association between the towering turbines and adverse health effects.

That’s what Grey-Bruce medical officer of health Dr. Hazel Lynn and her researcher, Dr. Ian Arra, will present to the public health board Friday.

The report follows plaintive calls last fall from local residents who live near wind turbines for the health unit to investigate potential ill health effects.

Lynn has been asked repeatedly over the years by municipalities and residents to conduct a study on how turbines might be affecting people’s health, which they say include migraines, insomnia, heart palpitations and other symptoms. She has rejected the requests because of the time and cost involved and because the health unit is not a research institute.

But last September, after an emotional delegation appeared before the health board, Lynn agreed to do a comprehensive search of the most current and credible studies available.

“(The conclusions are) not new, but it’s further confirmation that these are not NIMBYs, these are people affected by these things,” Lynn said Tuesday in an interview. “All of the studies rejected the null hypothesis that there was no association. Every one of them found that there was an association.”

Arra is a medical doctor interested in public health who also has a master’s degree in clinical epidemiology. He offered to help Lynn with the study and did most of the literature search, “which is hugely time consuming and he did an awesome job,” she said.

Proving causality from environmental exposures has always been tricky, Lynn said, and the research is only now beginning to catch up to the wind turbine industry.

“It’s difficult to get all of these things with good evidence,” she said. “Smoking took us 50 years to prove it was causing heart disease, lung disease and all that kind of stuff. And we knew it did long before that.”

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