By Alisa Howlett
Two Prince Edward County residents met with the local Board of Health today to request additional research be carried out on the health affects of PEC wind turbines.
Garth Manning and Dr. Robert McMurtry asked the Hastings and Prince Edward County Board of Health to further research the negative health affects of turbines before more are installed.
McMurtry said that the possible health affects caused by the turbines are more important than the renewable energy they produce.
“The absence of evidence is really what concerns me,” said McMurtry.
Dr. Richard Schabas, the board of health medical officer, agreed that there are plausible adverse health affects associated with wind turbines. But he disagreed that more research should be done.
Lots of studies show that people who live close to turbines suffer from headaches and insomnia, said Schabas. However he thinks opposition may be more about lowered property value than health concerns..
“As a rural resident myself, I certainly feel lots of sympathy for people who suddenly feel their ideal rural property is dominated by wind turbines, I totally appreciate that, “ said Schabas. “But that is not the same thing as saying that there’s direct physical health affects, which really is the crux of this whole debate and controversy from a public health standpoint.
“At the current time the consensus of expert medical opinion is there really isn’t insufficient evidence of a direct physical health affect from wind turbines…frequency levels really don’t support a concern.”
“It’s a standard that sounds good, but it’s actually completely impractical. It would put us back in the stone age, which is where I don’t think we really want to go.”
Schabas compared turbines to computer tablets. There is a body of opinion that believes tablet computers are medically unsafe, but people still use them, he said.
Quinte West Councillor Paul Kyte said, residents are subjected to the turbines, whereas, they have a choice to use a tablet computer or not.
“It’s the difference between choice and no choice,” Kyte said.
McMurtry, a physician and surgeon, admitted that a few years ago he thought wind turbines seemed like a good idea. His opinion changed after studying the research of
“Adverse health affects have been confirmed. No one is denying them, but now it’s ‘why’,” McMurtry said.
With more research McMurtry hopes to answer the question why, he said.
Wind turbines produce low sound frequencies, McMurtry said, and there is a debate on what we can’t hear that can actually hurt us.
Prince Edward County residents and members of the Hastings and Prince Edward County Board of Health are torn on the idea of more wind turbines.
“This is definitely is a very sensitive issue. It is dividing our community in several ways,” Prince Edward County Councillor Heather Campbell said.
The Environmental eeview tribunal is welcoming Ontarians who live near wind turbines to give their testimonies at Demorest town hall this week.