Wind Turbine Nuisance: a lawsuit against the Ontario Minister of the Environment

do no harm 1

May 25,2018|André Fauteux| La Maison Saine et Ecologique

(original article in French- Translation via Google Translate)

A group of Ontario citizens personally sued a minister for violating the Environmental Protection Act, allowing wind turbines to undermine their sleep and health, while respecting the limits allowed for audible noises. This law prohibits “discharging a contaminant into the natural environment or allowing or causing it to occur if the release causes or may cause a harmful consequence”. It “means bodily injury, loss of life, loss of use or enjoyment of property and loss of money”.

On April 30, Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) served on Chris Ballard, who heads the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), to attend court on the 17th. may. A judge will then decide whether or not the Attorney General of the province must lay charges.

Through the Access to Information Act, WCO obtained copies of more than 4,500 citizen complaints sent to the Ministry between 2006 and 2016, many of which had had to abandon their homes that had become unlivable. “Since the MOECC did not respond to thousands of reports of excessive noise from wind turbines, which affects the sleep and health of Ontario families, we had no choice,” said in a statement. organization, nurse Jane Wilson. According to her, “citizens report not sleeping for days, weeks, even months. Sleep disorder is linked to other health problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. In 2015-2016, the Ministry responded to only 7% of complaints and only to those living within 1,500m of wind farms, according to WCO. According to Ms. Wilson, the Ministry is not enforcing its own regulations to ensure that the noise level does not exceed 40 decibels dB at the nearest dwelling. “It does not respond to complaints and relies on operators who measure only the average noise in dBA. They ignore other types, including low frequencies (infrasound). ”

Scientific controversy

Health Canada has already published a study on wind turbine noise and health in 2014. Among its findings: “No statistically significant relationship was found between measured blood pressure, or resting heart rate, and exposure. to the sound of wind turbines. In addition, “the researchers did not establish a link between the noise levels of wind turbines measured outdoors, near the residences of participants, and the effectiveness of sleep, the rate of awakening, the duration of awakenings, the total time of sleep or the time needed to fall asleep “.

Findings contested by Carmen Krogh, a former Health Canada employee who has been investigating industrial wind turbines since 2007. “In rural areas, it is very difficult to obtain a statistically significant number of cases. In addition, we can estimate exposure levels, but it takes time to know the effects, “says the author 1 of various scientific articles on the subject.

In 2007, Carmen Krogh found that installing giant wind turbines in Ontario was a great idea, to replace nuclear and coal plants with renewable energy that does not pollute the air and does not contribute to climate change. A retired pharmacist, she naturally investigated whether industrial wind turbines could harm health. “I thought I would not be involved in this file for long,” says the former director of a hospital pharmacy who was also a consultant and employee of Health Canada and former editor-in-chief of the Compendium of Products and Specialties used by professionals who prescribe drugs in Canada.

For the past eleven years, she has been volunteering for wind energy, writing scientific articles and advising individuals, businesses and various levels of government. A former director of pharmacy at a hospital, Ms. Krogh was also a consultant to Health Canada’s Prescription Drug Administration and a director of its Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency. In addition, she is the former editor-in-chief of the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties, which is used by professionals who prescribe drugs in Canada. She believes that the burden of proof of safety must rest with industry, just as in the pharmaceutical field. “When a wind project is contested, citizens are always asked to predict the future and prove that wind turbines will hurt them. Because of product differences, evidence of causality is rare in the health field in the absence of a biological mechanism. In the pharmaceutical sector, manufacturers must prove the safety of their products or an acceptable risk / benefit ratio. And doctors, nurses and citizens can file complaints. Thus, over-the-counter doses of ibuprofen were reduced significantly, to 200 mg, because the patients complained of unexpected adverse reactions. ”

Similarly, when it comes to industrial pollution, you always have to focus on people’s reactions to exhibitions and read independent studies, Krogh insists. In 2007, she found that installing giant wind turbines in Ontario was a great idea, to replace nuclear and coal-fired plants with renewable energy that does not pollute the air and does not contribute to climate change. But his inquisitive mind made him discover that installing them near homes could be harmful. “I have studied the symptoms declared at the international level and the points in common are remarkable. When people talk about the same sleep and cognitive problems in Japanese and other languages, it’s very convincing. Another thing that is very convincing is that those who leave their homes intermittently feel better and that their symptoms reappear when they come home. In all cases, the installation of wind turbines was the only major factor that had changed in their environment before the onset of symptoms … I have never heard of a developer of wind turbines ask if residents were sensitive noise or had pre-existing medical conditions and special needs. For example, children with autism are more sensitive to blinking. ”

Ms. Krogh is particularly interested in infrasound. These inaudible vibrations, whose oscillation frequency is less than 20 hertz, are related to a host of symptoms ranging from headaches to insomnia, through acoustic pressures, tinnitus, nausea and dizziness. “The teratogenic congenital malformations of the heart and brain due to infrasounds worry me. In particular, I asked Health Canada to provide me with details about female military pilot helicopters regarding the effects of pulsed propeller noise, which is like large fan blades. I never receive answers from the Ministry. These are important considerations. Already in 2007, a hundred German doctors sounded the alarm by advocating the precaution in infrasound.

According to toxicologist Magda Havas ( an interview she gave us ), an Ontario expert in electromagnetic pollution and a professor at Trent University, industrial wind turbines generate five types of pollutants: audible noise, inaudible noise (infrasound) , the stroboscopic effect caused when the blades shade the sun, stray currents in the ground accentuated by the water table and the interference of high transient frequencies (dirty electricity). These circulate in the air and on the domestic current and are caused by wiring errors as well as the power supplies of electronic devices. Carmen Krogh comments, “I often wonder if people are not exposed to both noise and electrical pollution. The symptoms are dramatic because they are doubly stunned. ”

Ms. Krogh said that sensitivities to pollution vary from one individual to another. “Those who move to rural areas dream of silence and are often very sensitive to noise. But every wind turbine is the equivalent of a factory. I feel that the wind turbines were installed very hastily, without knowing what would be the safe distances and the noise levels. There are some 700 industrial wind turbines in Ontario and the province requires wind farms to be located at least 550 m from homes.

In 2012, the Society for Wind Vigilance , an advisory body of which Mrs. Krogh is a member, recommended that industrial wind turbines be installed at least 2 km from any residence, as required by the Haut-Saint-Laurent RCM. Montérégie. “But some people report adverse effects up to 5 km. It is difficult to recommend a safe distance because the exposure changes constantly and varies depending on several factors, including the terrain and density of the wind farms. The power and height of wind turbines increase with the years. The blades are longer and the experts say that the slower rotations make the sound inaudible. The direction of the wind and the disposition of the wind turbines must also be taken into account. Some are aligned while others are crescent-shaped or circle-shaped. ”

For his part, US professor of internal medicine David R. Lawrence recommends holding wind turbines at least 4-6 miles (6.5-10 km). He and his wife live as much as possible in their basement since two wind turbines were installed 500 m from their home in Connecticut. He also says he also treats several patients who suffer from insomnia, pain and pressure in the head, balance problems, the brain in the heat, pressure bumping into their chest and heart rate problems. “My wife is experiencing all these symptoms, and closer to the antennas,” he wrote in a 2016 submission to the Wisconsin Public Utilities Board. Her symptoms go away when they are not in operation or she walks away at least 2-3 miles (3.2-4.8 km) away. ”

Diagnosis criteria for adverse health effects in the vicinity of wind turbines

Original Article

2 thoughts on “Wind Turbine Nuisance: a lawsuit against the Ontario Minister of the Environment”

  1. There are some inaccuracies in M. Fauteux’ story, or perhaps it is the translation. The legal action concerning Mr Ballard is a “private prosecution” not a lawsuit. And it alleges that he permitted the discharge of a contaminant into the environment which may cause or is likely to cause adverse effect, as defined in the EPA (1-1). This is quite specific and it is not “nuisance” but rather, a violation of the EPA.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s