Ontario — Beware of health questionnaires or surveys

I had to wonder why certain questions are being posed to people having problems in turbine projects.
Consider the U of W survey:
“Quality of Life and Renewable Energy Technologies Study”
This is the survey that the government defers to when asked about the health problems in turbine projects.
A couple of sample questions:
How satisfied are you with the way your body looks?
or agree/disagree:
I feel that ‘big businesses’ are invading my landscape
or
I live in a progressive community with a sustainable future
or
I am concerned about keeping the garden/backyard tidy.
See info below. Mischaracterizations are coming out from all around.
Just be cautious if presented with new any questionnaires/surveys and consider the questions they are asking you and what they have to do with the health impacts being experienced. Thanks

BEWARE OF HEALTH QUESTIONNAIRES OR SURVEYS

no·ce·bo

noun \ˌnō-ˈsē-(ˌ)bō\ (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of NOCEBO

: a harmless substance that when taken by a patient is associated with harmful effects due to negative expectations or the psychological condition of the patient

Recently, a number of references have been released that lay the blame on those having health problems from wind turbines.

References claim people are ill because of negative personalities; they are frightened (fright factors); maybe they make it up; maybe they suffer from a negative orientated neurotic personality (NOP) traits (Neuroticism, Negative Affectivity and Frustration Intolerance); or they have a communicated disease called “nocebo”.

They claim that the mere power of suggestion from reading a newspaper or searching the Internet can make you get sick from wind turbines!

Examples of these references

1.      The influence of negative oriented personality traits on the effects of wind turbine noise by Jennifer Taylor, Carol Eastwick, Robin Wilson, Claire Lawrence, from the UK from the Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering; Department of Architecture and the Built Environment; and the School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK

Quotes: “However, the fact that actual noise was not related to symptom reporting highlights the important finding that symptom reporting appears to be strongly associated with individual differences in negative oriented personality traits.

2. Can Expectations Produce Symptoms from Infrasound Associated With Wind Turbines? by

Fiona Crichton, George Dodd, Gian Schmid, Greg Gamble, and Keith J. Petrie from University of Auckland, New Zealand

Conclusions: “Healthy volunteers, when given information about the expected physiological effect of infrasound, reported symptoms that aligned with that information, during exposure to both infrasound and sham infrasound. Symptom expectations were created by viewing information readily available on the Internet, indicating the potential for symptom expectations to be created outside of the laboratory, in real world settings. Results suggest psychological expectations could explain the link between wind turbine exposure and health complaints.”

This language is tantamount to suggesting that acousticians, engineers, government officers, teachers, lawyers, health care professionals and others reporting symptoms are not able to distinguish between fact and fiction. Why would toddlers cry tugging at their ears and fall over as if with vertigo? Why do kids vomit regularly as if dizzy and nauseated? Why do people abandon their homes? Why do others sleep in their basements with mattresses against the walls or in a tent or their car to escape the noise? Can the power of suggestion be that strong for so many?

And there’s more…

3. Spatio-temporal differences in the history of health and noise complaints about Australian wind farms: evidence for the psychogenic, “communicated disease” hypothesis.

by Simon Chapman, Alexis St George, Karen Waller, Vince Cakic, from Australia.

“Conclusions: In view of scientific consensus that the evidence for wind turbine noise and infrasound causing health problems is poor, the reported spatio-temporal variations in complaints are consistent with psychogenic hypotheses that health problems arising are “communicated diseases” with nocebo effects likely to play an important role in the aetiology of complaints.”

4. Fright factors about wind turbines and health in Ontario newspapers before and after the Green Energy Act by Benjamin Deignan, Erin Harvey & Laurie Hoffman-Goetz from the School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo,Waterloo, ON, Canada

“Conclusion Ontario newspaper articles on wind turbines and health contained a large number of fright factors, especially ‘dread’ and ‘poorly understood by science’, which both increased in frequency after the introduction of a major policy initiative and occurred more often in community relative to national/provincial newspapers. The information presented in mass media can affect public opinion related to wind turbines and influence the acceptance or resistance to renewable energy technology programmes in Ontario and potentially elsewhere.

This article suggests: that other methodological approaches (for example, surveys or interviews) will be necessary to make inferences and predications about the effects of exposure to fright factors in the media on public perceptions on health risks from wind turbines.”

Can we trust any questionnaire or survey?

The well known tactics of blaming the victim or ‘it’s all in your head’ are back. Remember when people testified during the Green Energy Act hearings April 15, 2009? See page G 547 of Hansard, Standing Committee on General Government, April 15, 2009.

Before deciding to participate in ANY questionnaire or survey, read the questions carefully. .

Questions on fear or feeling fearful – example 9. Fearful (from University of Waterloo Research Chair study.

Look for terms such as “windmills” – these are industrial wind turbines and anyone who calls them windmills is downplaying what they truly are.

Look for questions that could label you as anti-wind or anti-green such as did you go to protests, are you in the media, are you visible on the internet such as blogs or Facebook.

Look for questions about your attitude or how you feel about your view or whether you are in favour of or against wind turbines.

 

3 responses to “Ontario — Beware of health questionnaires or surveys

  1. We received The University of Waterloo Survey. It was very strange and insulting. We took out the center of the 29pg. survey and attached the following letter and sent it back in their postage paid envelope. We didn’t want them manipulating our responses to a “on a scale from 1 to 7, how would you rate…..”

    Date: 23 March, 2013
    To: Dr. David Michaud Ph.D. Principal Investigator/ Project Manager, Research Scientist Health Effects and Assessment Division, Health Canada david.michaud@hc-sc.gc.ca and info@hc-sc-gc.ca
    To: Dr. Phil Bigelow Ph.D pbigelow@uwaterloo.ca and the 13 other University of Waterloo Researchers and the twenty seven (27) “expert committee members” participating in the Health Canada’s Wind Turbine and Health Study – Expert Committee Members @
    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/consult/_2013/wind_turbine-eoliennes/committee_comite-eng.php
    From: Mike Stachura mjstach@excite.com
    Subject: Health Canada’s Industrial Wind Turbine Health Study
    Website with a copy of the survey questions: http://ontariowindresistance.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/march-2-2013-uw-survey.pdf
    __________________________________________________________________________

    Dear Dr. David Michaud,
    I received your University of Waterloo “Quality of Life and Renewable Energy Technologies Study” here at 36726 Hawkins Rd. and River Mill Line, Goderich, Ontario N7A 3Y3. (Survey # 426 HK)
    I am sending back a letter as opposed to your 29 page survey so that my answers cannot be manipulated and/ or misconstrued.
    I am offended by the survey. Many questions are unrelated to health. This seems more like a psychological profile study than a scientific health study. Questions appear to be constructed in a manner that can be manipulated to achieve any desired result.
    Examples:
    Page 14 – Please indicate whether you have noticed flies and/or gnats inside your home and whether they annoy you.
    Comment: I question the hygiene of your committee of “professionals” if they consider flies indoors tolerable.
    Page 26 – How satisfied are you with the way your body looks?
    Comment: Dr. Michaud and Committee Experts, How satisfied are you with the way your body looks?

    I initially filled the out the survey only to discover that the planned K2/ Capital Power 138 turbine project in my area will continue to be constructed regardless of your study. I will not be a lab rat. I would have gladly mailed in the study had a moratorium been placed on the construction of new turbines until AFTER the health effects were known.

    Suggestion: Surround the University of Waterloo with a few dozen Industrial Wind Turbines, taking great care to insure they are no further than 550 meters away from your laboratories and offices. Complete the study yourselves and contact me in 10 years with the results.
    Take all the money you make from the IWTs and use it for scholarships.

    I will answer some of your questions. I am NOT at all confident that your study, nor government, big business, University or researchers on the “BIG WIND” payroll and/or gravy train will give an accurate portrayal of your “Quality of Life and Renewable Energy Technologies Study”. I took a survey of my household and I am happy to report the following:

    Questions regarding Housing, Community, and Environmental Stressors:
    We spend all of our time at home when possible. It is currently a very quiet rural setting. When working in our garden and sitting on my porch, “on a calm summers morning, we can hear only birds singing and other nature sounds.” Our home very is relaxing. We keep our yard “tidy”. There is no noise from traffic, railway, no visible power pylons, factories, and no busy road.
    Overall, I would describe us as “part of the community”. We took over the formerly known “Dungannon Zoo”. We have a wide variety of animals that visitors view from the road completely FREE of charge. The property would more accurately be considered a hobby farm or “animal sanctuary” as many animals are rescues. It consists of 20 completely fenced acres where animals roam together freely. Some of the animals include elk, deer, llama, alpaca, goat, sheep, horse, mule, pig, swan, geese, chicken, ducks, cats and dogs etc. Someone literally dropped off an unwanted emu last week. We were told if we didn’t take her, she’d be shot.
    Currently our living conditions are close to ideal. We purchased the property 10 years ago.
    There is no heavy industry here, only agricultural farming and the daily school bus.
    We care about what our community looks like and we do feel that “big business” is invading our landscape.
    Questions regarding Health and Well-being:
    On a scale from 1 to 7, question # 46. “If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.”
    Everyone in our household considered this a rhetorical question, as we are unable to live our lives over and we choose not to live in the past.
    Questions regarding Sleep:
    During the past month, for the most, part we slept straight through the night. We don’t get up to use the restroom or have trouble sleeping due to snoring, feeling too cold or too hot. The only time we get up is to let the dogs out and that is typically 6 am.
    Questions regarding our feelings on Conservation:
    We believe in conservation and protecting the environment – reduce, reuse, recycle. We think small residential renewable energy projects are great. We strictly adhere to Ontario Hydro’s time-of-use guidelines. We compost and adhere to the principal of “if it’s yellow, let it mellow.”
    We unplug all TV and appliances when not in use. We choose not to use air conditioning. We don’t want to waste electricity.
    Questions regarding Demographics, Education, Community and Stressors and Housing:
    Everyone in or from our household has at minimum a four year university degree. Our degrees and education range from agriculture, environmental science, accounting, biology, microbiology, zoology, neurobiology, public safety and theatre.
    After a good deal of research on the internet, reading countless studies and reports, talking to friends, family, neighbors, professionals in the wind industry, attending wind sponsored open houses, going to township council meetings and viewing documentaries such as “Wind Fall” and “Wind Rush” and looking at industry brochures and personal experience living in the existing K1/ Capital Power Project area, we have concluded that continuing to develop the beautiful Ontario, Lake Huron, countryside into a giant INDUSTRIAL WIND FACTORY is not the answer to the environmental woes.
    Industrial wind turbines are dominating the rural area in which we live and construction plans of 138 more IWTs with a setback of only 550 meters from people’s homes continues even though health risks are known. If the current project receives approval, we will be forced to continually view a dozen IWTs from our home. Several will be closer than 1000 meters of our now quiet rural home.
    Capital Power executives attempt to clear their consciences by offering unwilling “receptors” within 1000 meters a check for $1,500 annually. At this point, we would pay them $1,500 per year to disappear!
    The previously friendly community atmosphere no longer exists. The proposed turbine project has destroyed community, families and friendships. Before the planned turbines, people would wave, stop for a chat and a beer in the workshop, catch up on the news in the area, tell a joke or two and get some veggies from our garden.
    Now everyone is at odds, angry or afraid. We are worried about possible wind turbine syndrome for ourselves and our animals. We worry about possible stray voltage.
    We worry about the negative consequences to birds, bats and other wildlife. We will be saddened by the loss of trees when they are removed to make way for high voltage transmission lines. We fear our property value/ life savings will decrease substantially. We are afraid and saddened by the thought of constant and inconsistent low frequency noise pollution. We don’t want to see the landscape blighted and see blinking red lights at night where now we see only stars. We worry about increased electrical cost due to this boondoggle of a mess they call “green energy” and what it will cost this economy.
    We are angry and hurt that rural people are seen as “acceptable collateral damage”.
    We feel the democratic rights of the municipality have been stripped away due to GREED.
    If turbines are constructed – we believe that IWT setbacks should be a minimum of 2 miles from the property line and increase as turbines become taller. We do not believe the wind industry should be permitted to degrade our current ambient noise level without our consent.
    We feel victimized, saddened and disenfranchised by the current government and the greedy, ignorant, selfish and/or often absentee landowners “hosting” big wind. We feel that IWTs should be taxed and assessed for their true value, as the multi-million dollar industrial facilities that they are and not merely as a concrete foundation. We do not believe taxpayers should subsidize big industry.
    Back to your survey questions – I’d say we are all happy enough with the way our “body looks” and we don’t like flies and/or gnats indoors. That is why we choose to have screens on the windows. We found the “flies and gnat question” particularly odd. Are people from the city NOT annoyed when flies and/or gnats are indoors? Even our farm animals are annoyed by flies and/or gnats.
    No one in this household is interested is donating hair, blood or saliva.
    Sorry. We believe your study will be bias regardless of participation. We believe you are obligated by your funding to reach a predetermined conclusion.
    I remember hearing a professor once say “there are lies, damn lies and then there is statistics.” Sleep well at night knowing rural people are kept awake night after night after night.
    Sincerely,
    Mike Stachura
    “too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of other human beings” April 5, 1968 U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy

  2. Pingback: aeinews.org » Blog Archive » Recent psychological papers may impact participation in Ontario wind farm survey·

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