Wind turbine opponents welcome health report from Dr. Lynn and Dr. Arra

Tracey Richardson — Owen Sound Sun Times — February 22, 2013

OWEN SOUND – Friday’s board of health report on wind turbines divulged nothing new for those who insist they’ve suffered ill health effects for years, but they say it bolsters their fight for a moratorium on new turbine projects as well as larger setbacks.

“I was very heartened to hear that they agree with so many of us that the setbacks are too small, that we’ve got to increase the separation distance between humans and wind turbines,” said Rachel Thompson, spokeswoman for Central Bruce Grey Wind Concerns. She was glad, she said, “that they’ve gone out and found the same sort of evidence that we have.”
Thompson was among 80 to 100 people at Friday’s monthly Grey Bruce Board of Health meeting to hear a report from medical officer of health Dr. Hazel Lynn and research assistant Dr. Ian Arra.

The public health board was asked in September by area turbine neighbours to do something to help them.
Lynn and Arra looked at the most available and credible studies on wind turbines and their effects related to noise. They focused on 18 peer reviewed studies, all of which revealed an association between wind turbines and distress among some people who live near them.

“There is no one (study) that didn’t find an effect of distress,” Arra said, which surprised him. “When I started the research, I had no conclusion at all, so yes, I was basically expecting both sides.”

Three of the studies showed dose response, which means they looked at the link between ill effects and the distance to turbines, “and they actually showed that the closer the person (to the turbine), the more distress there is,” Arra said.
But he cautioned that associating wind turbines to distress is not the same as hard evidence of cause and effect.

Lynn said the distress can be mitigated even without defining cause. “We know if you move further away from wind turbines, there is less distress.”

She and Arra said setbacks greater than the current 550 metres would help. Engineering advances should also lead to quieter turbines some day, they said.

In the meantime, they urged more studies be done, and more studies at a higher evidence-based level than what currently exists.   Lynn and Arra plan to have their study peer reviewed and hope to have it published in a medical journal.

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