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McMurtry joins call for wind turbine moratorium

Dr. Bob McMurtry, a prominent member of the Canadian health establishment, joins the victims of industrial wind turbines (IWT’s) in their call for Health Canada to turn over their future wind turbine noise study to Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). While the study is being conducted, they demand an immediate moratorium on all pending and proposed IWT projects.

The victims are represented by the North American Platform Against Wind Power (NA-PAW), and the European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW), which regroup over 600 associations of victims from 26 countries. These federations, and Dr. McMurtry, are dissatisfied with the way the study is to be conducted. Health Canada (HC) being an arm of the Canadian government, they say, it offers no guarantee as to impartiality, which is the most crucial point in this matter.

Arm’s length studies could be assured with involvement from CIHR, according to Dr Robert McMurtry: “research into adverse health effects is a good idea, but is being addressed by the wrong agency which is a regulatory branch of Health Canada. A better approach is to assign the task to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, which reports to Minister Aglukkaq and is more capable of establishing causation, prevalence, and answering other important questions.”

Recently obtained Health Canada Scientific Advisory Board documents reveal that HC have already agreed to not let the results be “causative,” and not become a tally of how many people have been affected.  These are the first signs that, already, the study is being used as a political stratagem. The study, if conducted by Health Canada, may not provide the clarity and truth that is being demanded by Canadians.”

The victims are also concerned that the best specialists on the matter may not be consulted as they are not listed in the initial list of 25 experts to assist with this study. They also feel that, now that the authorities have finally admitted there could be a health problem, the principle of precaution must be applied and a moratorium must be called immediately.

Dr. McMurtry concurs: “the admission by Health Minister Aglukkaq that there are substantial gaps in our knowledge reveals the absence of evidence-based guidelines. There is thus the need for a moratorium on further IWT development until the requisite evidence of safe placement of wind turbines is available.”

Several families and physicians have reported wind turbine associated heart attacks, and even suicides. When a family has lost home enjoyment and restful sleep, with no chance of  recovering them, we have a recipe for despair. We cannot afford to wait another two years and a thousand more turbines till the study is done. The devastation of lives must stop immediately.”

We can’t look to Europe for a solution to the health problem, says Mark Duchamp of EPAW. “Denmark recently conducted a study on the matter, but it was done by a consultant whose main client is the wind industry. As a result, it wasn’t truthful, and monstrous 3 MW turbines continue to be installed too close to homes and workplaces at great risk to public health. Tricks were used in the measurements of low-frequency noise and infrasound, as denounced by Professor Henrik Moeller, a renowned acoustician from the University of Aarlborg (1). In the circumstances, the world is looking at Ontario for, at last, an unbiased study. That must be the work of CIHR.”

The federations demand the participation of the following specialists in the study:

Dr. Robert Y. McMurtry, M.D., F.R.C.S. (C), F.A.C.S., Canada; Carmen Krogh, BSc Pharm, Researcher Wind Turbines – Adverse Health and Social Justice, Canada; Stephen Ambrose, Acoustician, USA; Dr. Jeffery Aramini, Epidemiologist, Canada; Dr Arline Bronzaft, Noise and Health Specialist, USA; Dr Steven Cooper, ENG Fellow Australian Acoustical Society and Member of Institute of Noise Control, USA; Professor Phillip Dickinson, Acoustician, New Zealand; Barbara J. Frey BA, MA and Peter J. Haddon, BSc, FRICS, Scotland; Dr Christopher Hanning, BSc, MB, BS, MRCS,LRCS, LRCP, FRCA, MD, Sleep Disturbance and Wind Turbines, UK; Professor Colin Hansen, Acoustician, Australia; Dr Magda Havas, Biological and Health Effects of Electromagnetic and Chemical Pollution, Canada; Richard James, INCE Acoustician, USA; Dr Mauri Johansson, Specialist in Community Health and Occupational Medicine, Denmark; Dr. Sarah Laurie, CEO Waubra Foundation, Australia; Professor Henrik Moeller, Acoustic Specialist, Denmark; Dr. Michael Nissenbaum, Radiologist, USA; Dr. Carl Phillips, Epidemiologist, USA; Dr. Nina Pierpont, Author of Wind Turbine Syndrome, USA; Robert Rand, Acoustician, USA; Dr. Daniel Shepherd, Noise and Health Specialist, New Zealand; Dr Malcolm Swinbanks, Acoustician, UK; Dr.Robert Thorne, Health Sciences and Acoustics, Australia.

Sherri Lange  +1 416 567 5115  (Canada)

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Marnie says:

    The new technologies offer many advantages but often carry high price tags. Geo-thermal heating is not cheap. Ditto for solar installations. Bear in mind that many oounty families exist on minimum wage and these alternatives simply are not an option. The bottom line is that people are forced to use what they can afford. Ever price an exterior chimney? They are not cheap.

  2. David Norman says:

    Donna, your supposition that “a symptom like tinnitus cannot be proven to be caused by wind turbines given a lifetime of exposure to excessive decibels from large machine noise”, is incorrect… that is the purpose of using stringent controls defined by scientific methodology – the design of experimental procedures which control for confounding variables. If this is done appropriately it is not “extremely difficult to conduct an objective health study”. Regardless of your proclamations of your “green” living virtues, extending them to an ideological justification of Industrial Wind Turbines is disingenuous and presumptuous. The nature of your contribution is clearly defined by your statement “I really wish that all the energy of County residents were being put into designing and creating a sustainable community instead of wasting it on all this bickering”, while you mock, insult and admonish others. Perhaps like your stated green virtues, you should practice what you preach, or does this virtue only extend to your narcissistic appraisal of your own motives.

  3. Donna says:

    Jo Anne, I totally agree with you especially about unregulated outdoor wood furnaces. Being very allergic to wood smoke, it’s difficult for me to live with at least 7 neighbours with either these furnaces or indoor wood stoves. I know, though, that the burning of wood is a low cost source of heat for locals, and is just what their families have always done.

    Our tiny house is heated with solar hot air, passive solar, and electric heat. With the solar we produce, we are energy neutral (except for our car). I really do walk the talk as much as possible, and that is why I support renewable energy.

    I really wish that all the energy of County residents were being put into designing and creating a sustainable community instead of wasting it on all this bickering. What amazing things we could do to make Prince Edward County a model for green, sustainable living!

  4. Dayton Johnson says:

    Facts as I see it

    I don’t think you could say electric heat was any cleaner than wood heat unless you can identify how that electricity is produced. Now if you install geo-thermal heating your talking clean heat. The gas/oil furnaces and woodstoves installed in homes today are way better than those of the old days…actually very efficient and clean burning.Those stainless chimneys you see are cheaper, and quicker to install,,,sometimes installed centrally in the house for max. heat distribution from the furnace.
    Unless one has their own wood source it’s hardly cheap heat…not to mention you handle it probably 4-5 times to keep warm!
    Also might mention with all the power outages in PEC electric heat needs a backup source and a few candles won’t cut it.Oh you could install a gas/diesel fired generator but buy a big one for electric heat…. or a smaller one for a gas/oil furnace.

  5. Lori Cairns says:

    It all depends on the woodstove. The woodstoves of today are head and shoulders above the ones we automatically think of.
    Simple explanation: They burn the wood and then burn the gases created when burning the wood. The amount of pollution going up the chimney is drastically reduced.

    But, once again, all talk is about keeping business as usual. All action is dependent on keeping our lives the same. The can will only be kicked down the road for so long. The hard decisions will be made for us by mother earth as the tipping point has passed. IWTs will not save us from that.

  6. Marnie says:

    Would that we all had your money, Joanne. Electric heat is not cheap. I know for I have it in part of my house. Maybe some of the people who use wood are doing the best they can with what they can afford.

  7. Jo Anne Slaven says:

    Donna, you state that non-renewable energy pollutants cause respiratory illnesses, time lost from work, increased health care costs, and even death. We “anti-wind” people hear this a lot.

    But as I drive around in the county, I notice that many of the properties displaying the clean energy windmill signs seem to be heating their homes with “dirty” sources like wood. The wood-burning homes are quite easy to spot – there will be a woodpile beside the house, and there will be a stainless steel chimney.

    The Hudsons in Black River are one example. The people who live next to the post office in Milford are another. I can certainly come up with additional wood-burning clean energy proponents if you would like.

    It seems to me that if a person is really passionate about reducing pollution from airborne particles, they wouldn’t have a wood stove. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that these people should be required to heat their homes with clean, renewable electric heat. Do you use electric heat, Donna? Do you use “dirty” energy sources like oil, propane, natural gas, or {{shudder}} wood?

  8. Donna says:

    My point was that a symptom like tinnitus cannot be proven to be caused by wind turbines given a lifetime of exposure to excessive decibels from large machine noise. It would be extremely difficult to conduct an objective health study. Psychological and ‘attitude’ factors would complicate results too.

    It has long been known, however, that non-renewable energy pollutants cause respiratory illnesses, time lost from work, increased health care costs, and even death.

  9. Doris Lane says:

    Donna there is one type of sound from the disel tractor and another from wind turbines–it is the frequency of the sound that causes the trouble
    I hope when the turbines come that the people you have supported will build you a little cabin beneath one of the turbones so you can spend some time near the things you love so dearly

  10. David Norman says:

    Geese Donna, and here I was looking for some self righteous indignation type docudrama inserts for the “Green Avenger” series I’m writing… your timing and reference are indeed fortuitous.

  11. Donna says:

    I choked at the news clip on CBC showing an older farmer getting down off his huge tractor…with no ear protection…and insisting that the wind turbine next door caused his tinnitus! How can any so-called ‘health study’ be objective with this kind of ridiculous ‘health submission’?

  12. David Norman says:

    Paul… great visualization… you are nothing if not collaborative!

  13. Paul Cole says:

    Thats awesome Im picturing RECEPTORS, because you didn t provide a description with a box of tissues and placards on sticks which ocasionally get stolen by the greenies…lmao hillarious

  14. David Norman says:

    Gary, I could call you, however, I’d rather sum up the questions I think you’re likely to ask me with the following story:
    In the introduction to this episode of the trials of the Eco Justice League we find the Green Avenger perched atop an Industrial Wind Turbine, strategically, narcissistically posed as “The Thinker”, while below, his growing army of little “GREENIE’S” mills about restlessly. From this vantage point the Green Avenger’s perspective looks out over the Venture Capital environment of his virtual sustainable world, Econtario, a place he has sworn by his virtue to protect.
    The great-green-unwashed NIMBY hoards look up and furtively watch from the backyards of the symbolic representation of their perceived entitlement to democratic freedom, in economic terror as each time he picks his nose he casts out a coal dust encrusted booger from which a new “Greenie” magically and mysteriously emerges. He travels throughout his domain by bounding from Turbine to Turbine, his only weakness being that he is limited by their numbers and distance from one another. He must find a way to alter the physics of the natural world so that many more Industrial Wind Turbines can be erected allowing him to extend his range and make his virtuous quest for Ecojustice the new reality. But a new and troublesome enemy is emerging, the RECEPTORS. This is a particularly irritating enemy and a perplexing problem since they were created from the vibrations of the very Industrial Wind Turbines that give him and his Greenie creations life and purpose. Realizing their agonizing reality the Receptors seek to increase their distance from Industrial Wind Turbines, stop their creation and/or eliminate them altogether.
    At this juncture perhaps a little background on the Green Avenger is warranted: Born the offspring of “flower power” parents, who had become mutated by complacency (fossil fuel) pollution, the Green Avenger had had a typical narcissistically inspired childhood. He was given a suitably obscure moniker, “Bater”, a meme generation assurance of individuality. Then one day, shortly after experiencing the disruption of the insidious endocrine pollution altered hormones of puberty, Bater was admonished by his parents for picking his nose and eating the boogers. “But I always do!” he exclaimed, “they taste good!”. His father, Chairman of the “It’s a Breeze to Make Money Ad-Venture Fund” and his mother, actress and celebrated star of the “Ann of Green Gullibles” TV series, watched as Bater, soon to become the pseudonymous Green Avenger, in defiance of their nose picking admonishment, dug his index finger deeply into his left nostril, plucking out a booger and cast it to the ground. To their astonishment the booger began to emit a perceptible low frequency vibration and grow into a tiny human like creature that looked like an “Internet Troll” and kept repeating the phrase, “I’m a Greenie and ready to do your bidding master Bater”. Sliding ahead in time many nose picks later, at the Green Avengers bidding the Greenies he’s created control and suitably exploit the powerful forces of avarice, to which the great-green-unwashed hoards are enslaved, with rewards of coveted shiny golden coins.
    Now back to this episode: The Green Avenger determines that like the unfathomable “dark matter” in space, he need merely darken the perceptions of the Receptors to defeat them. His army of Greenies and their shiny golden coin rewarded minions have successfully silenced and enslaved many Receptors but he must now cap and trade the remaining unrepentant to complete his ideological quest. He conspires to alter the language created from mathematics into a continuum of alphabetic factors which can then be turned into an infinite variety of facilitating verbal anagrams. Will this spell victory for the Green Avenger? Only time will tell if space, with all its unfathomable dark matter, allows.

    David Norman, Rogue Primate of Bloomfield

  15. Gary Mooney says:

    David, could you call me? I’m in the phone book.

  16. Chris Keen says:

    @ David Norman … and Vestas is apparently in serious financial difficulties as government subsidies for wind production in Europe are either cancelled or cut back! We’ve spent $180 million to save Liberal seats before the last election so all continues to be well in Ontario! 🙂

  17. David Norman says:

    It appears, based on info from the “grape vine” I’ve been cultivating, that the EBR will be announcing the Gilead/Ostrander verdict sometime this coming week. They are, apparently being very tight lipped regarding the disposition. My guess, based on the fact that Gilead, quietly without fanfare changed from Vestas to GE turbines, is that it will be approved. After all GE is greasing the Liberal coffers and I suspect, McGuinty’s retirement fund… nothing illegal of course.

  18. David Norman says:

    I agree from a “cautionary principle” point of view in the exercise of prudence i.e., a moratorium on Industrial Wind Turbine (IWT) development until there has been appropriate expertise and quantitative/qualitative scientific investigation as to human health effects, including that in controlled laboratory settings. However, I take great exception to the following comment by Sherri Lange of the North American Platform Against Wind Power (NA-PAW); “Recently obtained Health Canada Scientific Advisory Board documents reveal that HC have already agreed to not let the results be “causative,” and not become a tally of how many people have been affected. These are the first signs that, already, the study is being used as a political stratagem.”
    The scientific methodology of this study and the subsequent results, are not, and could not, and should not, be used as clinical proof. In phrasing it in this manner, Sherri Lange is disingenuous and has put it in the same context as I see in pro IWT propaganda of the sort that the Government of Ontario and stakeholder Environmental Non Governmental Organizations such as Environmental Defense, the Suzuki Foundation and to my greatest chagrin even the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, have demonstrated a patently vulgar penchant for. This study and the resulting “factor analysis” of the “sample” data can only provide a platform for further scientific study in more controlled conditions as variables which demonstrate statistical significance are identified and verified in controlled clinical settings. That Health Canada researchers may not have the required or expected expertise to conduct this study is however most certainly problematic.
    Science, by its pragmatic/methodological nature cannot truly be used as a “political stratagem”. Only the delusional ideologies that contort, distort and fallaciously adopt “scientifically” derived premises for their rhetoric use it, quite inappropriately in this manner.

  19. Doris Lane says:

    We need a moritorium and we need to listen to Dr Robert McMurtry who is one of the most knowlegeable people in this field
    Of course anything that is undertaken by the government is political and is designed to benefit them
    HARPER Ltd is only looking out for his interests which is big business, big oil, off shore investment.
    He cares little for the average person and their comcerns
    A Harper majority government was the biggest mistake Canada ever made but of course it was not made by the majority of Canadians

  20. Gary Mooney says:

    While the article’s headline is about a call for a moratorium, the article itself focuses on concerns about who is doing the study and what are its terms of reference. Very disconcerting.

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