40 doctors sign Wind Turbine Syndrome petition (Quebec)
Mar 1, 2011
—Roc Lebel, Terre Citoyenne
I am not a physician, but I work in the health care field. My work involves Research & Development and product formulation, and I have close ties with a number of physicians.
Indeed, this is what made it possible for Terre Citoyenne, a citizens’ organization to persuade 40 physicians to sign a petition (click here for French version, see below for English translation), urging the Québec Government to halt all wind turbine projects located in inhabited areas that are in development or under construction, until the research is sufficiently advanced to enable our public health authorities to establish beyond all doubt what is a safe minimum distance between a wind turbine and a home.
This is consistent with the principles of Québec’s Sustainable Development Act (R.S.Q. c. D-8.1.1) and, in particular, with the Precautionary Principle.
Dr. Linda Bernier, O.R.L., department head at the Arthabaska Hospital (Victoriaville, Québec), played a key role in this achievement. She reviewed the recent literature on this subject, and having freely translated the words of Dr. Nina Pierpont, finally took a clear position as follows:
As a specialist in oto-rhino-laryngology, there is no doubt in my mind that the harmful effects that have been described actually occur. The level of audible disturbance can easily be measured, although the guidelines need to be adjusted to take into account the low-frequency noise. Many studies have dealt with the effects of noise on the inner ear, but unfortunately not many studies can be found dealing with or proving the effects of these vibrations on the inner ear, and this is mainly where the problem lies.
Owing to a petition signed by 40 physicians in Québec, we received good media coverage on the risks to health caused by wind turbines. Moreover, we have continued to receive signatures from other physicians.
Petition for Health: Industrial Turbines in Populated Areas
The Québec government, in its energy development plan, calls for the building of numerous industrial wind turbines in rural, inhabited Québec.
The fact is, more and more scientific research is showing the negative impacts on health and quality of life among people living near industrial wind turbines.
CONSIDERING that no measures of assessment and control are currently applied on the level of social acceptability and level of psycho-social impacts associated with such industrial wind projects;
WHEREAS the unit of measurement currently used in Québec for impact studies (98-01 of instruction note MDDEP) is recognized by the Department of Public Health and MDDEP as inadequate to assess the specific types of noise emitted by industrial wind turbines, and consequently their real nuisance for people;
WHEREAS, increasingly, research confirms the evidence of several other negative impacts on health and quality of life of people living near industrial wind turbines;
WHEREAS much remains unknown and much research remains to be done to better define the extent of these impacts and their real consequences, particularly in view of audible sound and infrasound;
CONSIDERING that more and more researchers recommend a minimum setback of 2 km from residential and industrial turbines, to reduce risks to human health. Moreover, this criterion is being increasingly accepted elsewhere in the world;
We, the following physicians, in light of the risks discussed above and the potential negative effects of industrial wind turbines on the health of people living nearby, ask the Québec government for a moratorium on future or current projects being built close to human habitation, until the research is sufficiently advanced to allow public health authorities to establish, beyond doubt, a safe setback from people’s homes. This follows the spirit of the law regarding sustainable development in Québec (LRQcd_8.1.1), and in particular the Precautionary Principle.