Queen’s University professor disputes wind turbine report

One of the key experts backing opposition to a wind energy development on Amherst Island said a recent Health Canada study is more politics than science.

John Harrison, a Queen’s University professor emeritus in physics and a member of the Association to Protect Amherst Island, located near Kingston, Ont., said the report contradicts itself and was not peer reviewed.

In a report released last week, Health Canada said there is no link between noise from wind turbines and adverse health effects.

Health Canada scientists looked at communities that host wind farms. Two dozen government, academic and industry experts contributed to the study.

Researchers examined 1,200 participants living within 2 km of wind turbines in Ontario and P.E.I.

Scientists found that while some residents living near wind turbines noted some indicators of stress — sleep disruption, headaches — there was nothing to indicate those stressors were the result of the wind turbines.

Harrison pointed out that the report later states that annoyance caused by the noise from wind turbines is linked to sleep problems, illness, stress and quality of life.

“I can’t help, as a scientist, to link those together and say annoyance increases with the noise, health effects increase with the annoyance, so health effects must increase with the noise.”

Harrison also criticized the report, which is a summary of conclusions reached by a larger study, for not including the scientific data the study collected.

Harrison said he originally supported Health Canada’s research plan, called the release “premature.”

And the lack of scientific data makes it impossible to have it reviewed by other scientists, he said.

“This is political. This is political because the provinces want to build turbines. This is political because the provinces want the wind energy companies to build them and use their own money.”

Harrison also took exception to statements in the report that he says are either not supported or attributed to any scientific research or too general to mean anything.

“Something as fuzzy as parts of this summary would never make it through the peer review for a reputable journal,” he said.

ELLIOT FERGUSON, KINGSTON WHIG-STANDARD FIRST POSTED: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 

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