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The Precautionary Principle

In 2014 we will have results from Health Canada’s research on adverse health effects from Industrial Wind Turbines (IWTs) built close to residences.  This will help future governments plan safe turbine locations. Meanwhile, as turbine construction continues, thousands more Canadians are being subjected to undetermined degrees of risk.  Something must be done now.
Health Canada already has sufficient evidence of adverse health effects to justify its major investment in this study involving its proposed sample of 2000 Canadians.  That evidence s is surely sufficient to justify an immediate moratorium on further construction of IWTs, using the “precautionary principle” routinely used to keep food and drug products off the market until proven safe.
According to its web site, Health Canada’s first Objective is:  “By working with others in a manner that fosters the trust of Canadians, Health Canada strives to: Prevent and reduce risks to individual health and the overall environment…etc”.  Health Canada now needs to maintain the trust of Canadians by preventing and reducing further health risks from IWTs.  Until research results are available, it needs to prohibit the operation of IWTs within at least 5 km from residences, within which distance the health effects will be researched.
To enable its research, Health Canada may need to allow some IWTs to continue for a limited time.  However, Health Canada also needs to minimize further risks from these massive generators of electricity, noise, vibration, infrasound and “shadow flicker” by prohibiting their ongoing operation near residences until its research is complete.
Many Canadians have already reported adverse health effects.  While the moratorium is in effect, governments will have an opportunity to discuss how Canadians may be compensated for health concerns already caused by IWTs constructed too close to their homes.
Jim McPherson, Milford

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Jim says:

    I hope they don’t have to wait

  2. David Norman says:

    In the Aug. 9/12 edition of the Picton Gazette, in a letter to the editor, John Legate, a member of the County Sustainability group, inanely attempts to negate the nature of the Health Canada study you mention, by reducing it to a “big oil”, “Harper Government” conspiracy to usurp Provincial Government control, specifically that of McGuity’s Ontario Liberals, over what he contorts to be a Health Care issue. Legate either cleverly neglects or simply does not understand that this study represents a Constitutional (the purview of Federal Government) not a Health Care issue per se, but is premised on Civil Rights… rights that are guaranteed in our Constitution to protect individuals’ freedoms from governments and private organizations in the form of discrimination and/or repression.
    Similarly, Deb Hudson of the County Sustainability Group states in an article published in the Aug. 9/12 edition of the County Weekly News states that “Dr. Simon Chapman, Senior Researcher of Public Health at the University of Sydney, calls Wind Turbine Syndrome a classic case of a ‘communicated’ disease (http://theconversation.edu.au/wind-turbine-syndrome-a-classic-communicated-disease-8318). Chapman disparages “wind turbine syndrome”, by using obscure and absurdly exaggerated health claims associated with proximity to Industrial Wind Turbines (IWTs) which he has gleaned off of the internet. Chapman has never conducted scientific/epidemiological research regarding health effects associated with IWTs. He conveniently, and despite his erroneous claims of “funding” impartiality, ignores contemporary findings by the World Health Organization and, for example, literature reviews such as “Wind Turbine Noise Seems to Affect Health Adversely and an Independent Review of Evidence is Needed,” British Medical Journal, March 8, 2012”( http://betterplan.squarespace.com/todays-special/2012/3/10/31012-british-medical-journal-wind-turbine-noise.html). Chapman, as quoted by Hudson, goes on to state that “wind turbine syndrome produces zero returns from the United States National Library of Medicine’s 23 million research papers”. He cleverly ignores the fact that so little research has been conducted/supported in this area that it does not yet have the clinical criteria necessary for inclusion as a diagnostic category, hence no reference key words… curiously he goes on to state that he does reference 17 reviews of available evidence in this regard – clearly none of this “evidence” is of a clinical scientific merit to warrant inclusion.

    Chapman, while not guilty of scientific misconduct in this respect, since he has not conducted any “science” or scientific analysis, is stretching the limits of academic freedom of speech. And, that the “tabloid” that published this article would allow such unsubstantiated commentary on an ongoing basis is a testament to its journalistic integrity.

    David Norman, Rogue Primate of Bloomfield

  3. Doris Lane says:

    JIm is there a moritorium in effect re THe Health Canada Study? Are Gilead etc going to be allowed to build now or must they wait until 2014 to get their approval?

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