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Bisphenol A and the environmentally destructive nature of industrial wind turbines

I’m always amazed at how Industrial Wind Turbine (IWT) proponents avoid discussion and accountability in regards to the inconvenient un-green polluting and environmentally destructive nature of this technology. I’ve previously written about the enormous environmental costs of the mining and production of the rare earths, neodymium and dysprosium, for the permanent magnets in the IWT generators. About two tons of these elements are required for a 3 megawatt turbine.  Not only does the open pit mining for rare earths destroy vast tracts of sensitive ecosystems, the refining of specific elements produces
carbon dioxide and sulfide pollution, and tailing ponds which contain radioactive thorium waste.  Another factor of this technology that is conveniently kept hushed from discussion by Industrial Wind Turbine proponents is the materials that go into the construction of the blades. The blades are constructed of reinforcement meshes and epoxy resins made from the infamous plastics chemical Bisphenol A, which is used to provide the exceptionally high-performance, lightweight material with the stiffness and fatigue resistance that maintain the blades’ structural integrity in both static and dynamic environments.

I’ve  wondered about the extent of industry lobbying behind the Industrial Wind Turbine development ideological political impetus. With all of the many detracting aspects, health concerns, ecological destruction, bird and bat deaths, decreasing property values, FIT subsidies, unpredictable intermittent power etc. etc. etc., I’ve wondered why there was such persistence to inflict these environmental catastrophes on unwilling public’s. I’m aware of the powerful financial interests of corporate investors and industry groups such as The American Steelworkers who are intimately financially involved with Canadian, Environmental Non Governmental Organizations like the pro IWT, Environmental Defence.  I use this example because the Executive Director of Environmental Defence, Rick Smith is the co-author of a book “Slow Death by Rubber Duck” which talks about the toxic nature of Bisphenol A. When I examined and researched the various components of Industrial Wind Turbines I discovered many others that have extensive interest.

I was reminded of this when Toronto Council recently banned plastic bags from retailers. The news reports revealed the extent and power of a huge plastics industry. Plastics producers and manufacturers, particularly those whose products contain phenols, specifically Bisphenol A, were for a time experiencing a decreasing demand due to controversy over the effects of Bisphenol A on human health, particularly with children. You might recall the “baby bottle” controversy which caused Canadian Government to ban Bisphenol A  use for manufacturing feeding bottles and toys which they might chew. Interestingly, one of the biggest drops in the use of Bisphenol A was the decrease in production of CDs due to the use of cheaper and more
convenient flash drives and hard disk storage. Then, along comes this Industrial Wind Turbine and solar panel “green” market to make up for lost demand. ( for reference see http://www.borealisgroup.com/industry-solutions/base-chemicals/phenol-and-aromatics/wind-turbine-epoxy-resins/)

And now for the health concerns surrounding Bisphenol A; Keep in mind that the wind, rain, and heat from the sun over time degrade and erode the Bisphenol A epoxy resin in Industrial Wind Turbine blades releasing it into the surrounding environment. And when these blades are damaged and replaced at very least they cannot be economically recycled and it has yet to be demonstrated that even despite the enormous cost that it is technically possible. So they end up in landfill, degrading and releasing Bisphenol A into the soils and water systems. By today’s standards in a relatively small 1.5 megawatt Industrial Wind Turbine the blades contain about ten tons of Bisphenol A based polycarbonate and epoxy resins. Bisphenol A is also present in the wiring insulation, high voltage insulators, circuit boards and even the paints on Industrial Wind Turbines. I recommend that you use the following reference to read up on the extensive health effects surrounding Bisphenol A; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A .
I’ll provide a few samples:
1. “Bisphenol A is controversial because it exerts weak, but detectable, hormone-like properties, raising concerns about its
presence in consumer products and foods contained in such products. Starting in 2008, several governments questioned its safety, prompting some retailers to withdraw polycarbonate products. A 2010 report from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised further concerns regarding exposure of fetuses, infants, and young children.
In September 2010, Canada became the first country to declare Bisphenol A a toxic substance. In the European Union and Canada, Bisphenol A use is banned in baby bottles.”

2. “Bisphenol A is an endocrine disruptor, which can mimic estrogen and may lead to negative health effects.”

3. “In 2006, the US Government sponsored assessment of the scientific literature on the health effects of Bisphenol A, stated that the concentrations  of Bisphenol A now commonly found in the human body is associated with organizational changes in the prostate, breast, testis, mammary glands, body size, brain structure and chemistry. The average levels in people are above those that cause harm to many animals in laboratory experiments.”

4. “Permanent changes to genital tract. Changes in breast tissue that predispose cells to hormones and carcinogens.  Long-term adverse reproductive and carcinogenic effects. Increased prostate weight. Lower bodyweight, increase of anogenital distance in both genders, signs of early puberty and longer estrus. Decline in testicular testosterone. Breast cells predisposed to cancer. Prostate cells more sensitive to hormones and cancer. Decreased maternal behaviors. Reversed the normal sex differences in brain structure and behavior. Adverse neurological effects occur in non-human primates . Disrupts ovarian development.”

5.  “Children may be more susceptible to Bisphenol A exposure than adults. A recent study found higher urinary concentrations in young children than in adults under typical exposure scenarios. In adults, Bisphenol A is eliminated from the body through a detoxification process in the liver. In infants and children, this pathway is not fully developed so they have a decreased ability to clear Bisphenol A from their systems. It is also estimated that from food consumption, infants and young children have higher Bisphenol A exposure than adults. Studies have found that fetuses and young children exposed to Bisphenol A are at risk for secondary sexual developmental changes, brain and behavior changes and immune disorders.”

Another legacy of toxic environmental destruction for our children and grandchildren.

David Norman, Rogue Primate of Bloomfield

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Doris Lane says:

    TM true and you can add municipal to that as well
    A great many people just do not care
    Just watch the news and look around the world-things are scary

  2. TM says:

    Doris: With dismal voter turnouts for for several previous elections (Federal as well as Provincial), one could argue that the ‘majority’ of people haven’t truly elected a politician in years!

  3. Doris Lane says:

    The Majority of the people did not elect Dalton He has a minority government which he uses to his own advantage
    Now e have to pay for the plant he cancelled before the provincial election He cancelled it so his candidate could win. another tricky thing he is doing is getting conservative members good jobs so there will be by-elections in Ontario–he is hoping to win a couple of more seats.

  4. David Norman says:

    Well, well, well, JD… I knew if I waited patiently, John Legate of the County Sustainability Group would reappear in the media stream and provide me with a fortuitous opportunity to expose your pseudonymous character. You see JD, he too, John Legate that is, used the same U.K. Parliamentary briefing paper, an obscure, isolated reference at best, in an incomplete, misinterpreted and unreferenced fashion. For legitimacy, here is the reference: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/post/postpn368rare_earth_metals.pdf. Let me clear up Legate’s and your reference first; the reference states and I quote “Currently, 4% of new offshore wind turbines use a magnetic drive system containing rare earths, which improves reliability and mechanical efficiency. This figure is anticipated to rise to 15-25% by 2015.” Both you and Legate conveniently failed to point out that the other IWTs they refer to are older, less efficient technologies and that IWT generators now being produced (particular given that the German made, Vestas, copper wound generators are no longer considered in this respect because of their mechanical/generating inefficiency) all use rare earth metals, neodymium and dysprosium primarily, to create the permanent magnet drive systems that are necessary to the efficiency and engineering of the current wave of increasingly omnipresent 2 to 5 Mgw IWTs. The meaning of this figure seems to have escaped you. This means that all new offshore IWTs are constructed with permanent magnet generators and are estimated to comprise 15%-25% of all existing U.K. offshore Industrial Wind Turbine installations by 2015.
    Perhaps a quote from a recent letter to the editor by John Legate of the County Sustainability Group in the July 12,2012 issue of the Picton Gazette might help you to understand the importance and potential fallacious character of interpretative meaning: In relation to the vote by South Marysburgh residents regarding the Ostrander and WPD, Industrial Wind Turbine developments, he stated that “Fortunately, whatever the outcome of the South Marysburgh vote (which incidentally was 489 to 51, against IWT development) it won’t change government policy, which all Ontarians have already voted for. And that is the way democracy should be.” While the Government may be democratically elected, it is not meant to be the purveyor of what is democratic… that can only be determined by the electors and, as is this case, is not necessarily representational and democratic to all.

    And because of your presumptuous denigrating tone and the use of puerile pejorative language I will not afford you the benefit of doubt and respect… your accusations towards me of “ hypocrisy”, “flawed analysis”, “shallowness”, “unsubstantiated assertion(s)” and that I “should be ashamed” and have made a “leap in logic”, are clearly attempts at defamation. To address this challenge I promise to confirm and reveal the “true identity” of your pseudonymous acronym JD, when I perceive an opportune time and place.

  5. David Norman says:

    Bravo all… “The absurd is born out of the confrontation between a human need and the unreasonable silence of the world” (Albert Camus). “May the bird of paradise fly up your nose…May an elephant caress you with his toes” (Little Jimmy Dickens). A fondled farewell.

  6. virginia says:

    Some good points from JD!!

  7. Donna says:

    Thanks for the correction…BPA not BHA…I was also researching the dangers of food preservatives. Why are we being poisoned in so many ways?!

    Yes, I agree that Bisphenol A is a very real toxin. My objection with the article is that the real dangers of BPA come not from some possible future degradation of wind turbines but from our present daily lives: food and drink containers, paper products (even toilet paper, receipts, and our new Canadian currency!), everything plastic in our lives. Look around at all the plastic in your house, your vehicles, your world. Almost 100% of Canadian adults have BPA in their bodies!

    So, of course I agree with David Norman’s 5 points; however, I do take issue with his condemnation of wind turbines as a BPA threat to our health. That’s just too much of a stretch considering the BPA-laced world we live in.

  8. Lori Smith says:

    Donna: did you hit your head as you went down? (ROTFL = Roll On The Floor Laughing)

    I checked out your link to wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A) and found that all of Mr Norman’s comments regarding the damaging effects were indeed listed there. and there were several more. Perhaps the head bump was serious enough to affect your short term memory or cognitive abilities, provided you had enough clarity of vision to actually read what was on the web page.

    P.S. Somehow you missed that the acronym is actually BPA and not BHA and that Canada declared BPA a toxic substance in 2010.

  9. Mark says:

    hahahaha.

    Paranoia, paranoia, everybody’s coming to get you!

    Its funny how you’re grasping at straws now to find a way to complain about wind projects.

    The County has a new roadside sign bylaw??? Oh my!! It MUST have something to do with our precious wind signs! It just MUST!

    Hey, remember the unfounded BPA scare a few years ago?? Let’s jump on that too! These must be made from BPA!

    By the way, how many of you hypocrites buy plastic pop, water or juice bottles on a daily basis. The remnants from the manufacturing process of that plastic bottle will do more damage than any scary wind turbine. Watch “Tapped”.

    The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

  10. cHRiS says:

    since i dont have the knowledge to deal with the issue, i could google up some h0r$e$h!t to copy/paste, tho seriously considering taking to personal attacks to unleash frustration in my powerless position thereby further obfuscating matters.

  11. Mark says:

    I don’t feel at all ashamed in responding to a demeaning post. You say that insults were offered to a reasonable post. Does a reasonable post begin with ROTFL and thank the commenter for providing the best laugh of the day? Is it reasonable to call an anti-wind “nothing” if not imaginative? Is it reasonable to suggest alternate uses of intellect instead of “fabricating” far fetched stories? Come on JD be reasonable.

  12. JD says:

    While I am at it I should correct your rare earth assertion. Here, from a UK parliamentary briefing paper:

    “Rare Earth Metals are a group of elements employed
    extensively in high-technology applications. They are found
    in items such as monitors and mobile phones, as well as low
    carbon energy technologies. They are also used in chemical
    processes such as petroleum refinement as an industrial
    catalyst.”

    “These are a component of high power
    magnets, used in some electric vehicles and wind turbines.
    Currently, 4% of new offshore wind turbines use a magnetic
    drive system containing rare earths, which improves
    reliability and mechanical efficiency. This figure is
    anticipated to rise to 15-25% by 2015. Demand for electric
    vehicles is also forecast to increase. Global rare earth
    demand is forecast to grow at between 8-11% a year from
    2011 to 2014, driven largely by the rate of growth of these
    two low carbon technology markets”

    Note that only 4% of the current UK offshore turbine installations have rare earth metals. Turbines containing rare earth metals are not a given.

    Regardless, the hypocrisy of your position can be demonstrated by the answer to the following question:
    Since you are opposed to the use of rare earth metals, am I correct in assuming you are making your posts without the benefit of a computer screen, from a machine containing no plastic, powered by electricity produced from turbines (all electricity save solar is produced using turbines of some sort), containing no rare earth metals, that was delivered and manufactured without petroleum products…?

  13. JD says:

    Mark and David should be ashamed of themselves. All they offer are insults to a reasonable post. BHA has become pervasive in our environment. To make an unsubstantiated assertion that we are in some kind of mortal danger from some far in the future degradation speaks to the desperation of the anti-winds. Had you bothered to follow the link you would have found you life is more in peril from your BHA laced toilet paper and the receipt from the purchase of the same than it will ever be from wind turbines.
    Have you never heard of UV inhibitors? They are used in all sorts of plastics. Do you really believe turbine manufacturers wouldn’t use them on such expensive products? Perhaps along with turbine blades you are suggesting we stop using plastics for cars, boats, trailers, trucks, trains, planes…? We could just shut down the whole transportation system.
    Your lack of ability to see past your own hate of turbines and to recognize flawed analysis is clearly demonstrated by your leap in logic from Donna recognizing the shallowness of your position to the conclusion she does not care for the environment. The two cannot be logically connected.

  14. Mark says:

    Donna,the County Sustainability Group must just cringe and breakout in hives everytime you comment and demonstrate total disregard and care for the environment while blowing the breezes towards the South Marysburgh wind farms. You are a blessing in disguise.

  15. David Norman says:

    Donna, what took you so long? It’s quite expected that you would make pretense to laugh at my expense. This is a typical puerile response by a person who is threatened by another persons intellect. It’s indicative that you offer understanding and predictions, in this case regarding Bisphenol A, that scientists are only beginning to discover. I would never make pretense to have solutions to “climate change”, a subject which is difficult to come to terms with at this time… there is simply not enough scientific information currently. There is however enough scientific information and pragmatic experience for me to know with absolute certainty that Industrial Wind Turbines offer no solutions and in fact only exacerbate and escalate environmental and ecological degradation.

  16. Donna says:

    ROTFL Well, thanks for the best laugh of the day, David! You anti-winds are nothing if not imaginative.

    If we’re going to die from BHA toxicity, it will happen decades before wind turbines ever degrade. BHA is ubiquitous in our environment. Recent studies have shown virtually every Canadian adult, and 93% of children, have Bisphenol A in their urine!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A

    David, it’s unfortunate that you don’t use your obvious intellect to find solutions to climate change instead of fabricating far-fetched, albeit entertaining, stories.

  17. Chris Keen says:

    David – I always have trouble with “horse*#@!” and I’m embarrassed that my Spell Checker didn’t catch my error!! I must say, though, in my defence, it’s not a word I use very often.

  18. Mark says:

    I think Bill needs to keep his plastic water bottle and the CSG”s rain barrel out of the sun. LOl

  19. David Norman says:

    Chris, you spelled horse *#@” incorrectly… should have been horse *#@!. Also I made a typo in my recent comment; should have been “been duly shunned”.

  20. Chris Keen says:

    Mr.Norman – perhaps Mr.Jensen will share with the readers of countylive.ca the research he’s done that leads him to label your article “horse*#@”?

  21. David Norman says:

    Bill, I completely agree… although horse *#@! while most certainly a contributor to Bisphenol A contamination is only one of many contributors to this toxic pollution, particularly in aquatic ecosystems (Hanselman, T. A.; Graetz, D. A.; Wilkie, A. C. Manure-borne estrogens as potential environmental contaminants: A review. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2003, 37, 5471-5478.) I do not eat soup from cans… I make my own from organic (vegan) ingredients. I applaud you for having half a mind and will inform my group, which only has the limited membership of the few personalities contained within my consciousness that we have be duly shunned.

  22. Bill Jensen says:

    What a complete load of horse*#@!.

    If you are worried about Bisphenol A – how about eating from a can of soup?

    This is crazy conspiracy theory nonsense. Anyone with half a mind for logic and intelligence should steer clear of anti-wind groups who will make up anything to scare people.

  23. David Norman says:

    Doris & L. Griffin… thank you for your comments. I’m busily writing a series of stories titled “The Adventures of Benny the Blandings Turtle (know amongst the local lady turtles as lustful South Shore Benny) in Industrial Wind Turbine land”. The stories are aimed at educating puerile pro-wind pundits (the PPPs). One of Benny’s adventures centers around Bisphenol A. However, a note of caution; due to the nature of some of the content you should not read them to your children or grandchildren.

  24. Doris Lane says:

    Great article David–you are to be commened for the work you are doing on your articles
    I still drink water out of plastic bottles and I heard you should not let them heat up or freeze
    Strange to see cases of them sitting outside the grocery store in the summer.
    TRY and get your message out–maybe the Wellington Times

  25. L. Griffin says:

    Astounding! I really wish there was a way for us to get this information out to the mainstream media and ultimately, the public. Unfortunately, large news outlets have no interest in printing anything that could possibly go against the ‘soup’ du jour.

    Thank you so much for this article. It needs to be broadcast from the highest peak.

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