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Research Chair Choice Misses the Mark

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Research Chair Choice Misses the Mark

The Society for Wind Vigilance expresses its concern over the announcement of its choice of Research Chair in Renewable Technologies and Health. Dr Siva Sivoththaman is an electrical engineer. While we wish him well, in our view Dr. Sivoththaman's professional background lacks the clinical expertise to evaluate "health impacts of renewable energy" associated with industrial wind turbines.

As advocates for health protection The Society for Wind Vigilance believes that the lead and expertise of this Research Chair would more appropriately have been a clinician scientist. We strongly encourage the new Chair to seek the appropriate collaborators as the research program is established.

The SWV notes with concern that the first criterion in the RFP from the Ministry of Environment required that the responding institution have a faculty or discipline established for renewable energy technologies. Throughout the RFP, the required expertise, experience and qualifications continued to focus on renewable energy technologies. The health requirement appears to have been a secondary consideration if it was considered at all. These concerns have been communicated to the Ministry of Environment and the Chair of the Research Chair during the selection process.

Health concerns from wind technology in Ontario must be addressed. These concerns exist due to the inadequate implementation of Ontario's renewable energy policy. Front end health studies prior to establishing the renewable energy policy were not done. Vigilance monitoring and long term surveillance programs to ensure safe implementation were not established.

Volunteers for WindVOiCe© continue to conduct a vigilance health survey for new victims. WindVOiCe© follows the principles of Health Canada's Canada Vigilance, a post-market surveillance program by which healthcare professionals and consumers report adverse health effects suspected to be related to a product. This is mandatory for Market Authorization Holders such as wind turbine manufacturers.

To date, one hundred and two Ontarians have reported adverse health effects from industrial wind turbines and the number is climbing.

The Society for Wind Vigilance calls upon the government to halt further development of industrial wind installations until a full independent, third-party study into the adverse health effects of industrial scale wind technology is complete.

Mitigation of problems with current wind developments must be agreed upon and corrective action taken.

According to the Ministry of Environment "there is no scientifically accepted field methodology to measure wind turbine noise to determine compliance or determine non compliance with a Certificate of Approval limits". Based on this, Ontario noise guidelines for industrial wind turbines do not seem enforceable. The recent RFP for noise specialists by Ontario's Ministry of Environment indicates that the technology and its affect on human health are not fully understood.

Ontario families cannot rely on protection from their government when turbine-related noises cause sleep disturbance leading to other adverse health effects. Clinicians and medical experts must be independently appointed from outside the government and its public health officers to protect Ontarians.

ROBERT Y. MCMURTRY, M. D., F.R.C.S.(C), F.A.C.S.

Chair

The Society for Wind Vigilance

www.windvigilance.com

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