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Carol Platenik and Virginia Irvine Testify

TESTIMONY ON WIND TURBINE HEALTH IMPACT BILLS – July 9, 2013

My name is Carol Platenik.  I am a Registered Nurse and live in Brimfield MA.  I am here to testify in support of House Bill 2048 filed by Representative Peake and House Bill 2049 filed by Representative Smola.

House Bill 2048 Resolves  to Establish a Commission to Study the Health Impacts from Wind Turbines. This legislation has a more specific mandate to investigate and study the incidence and impacts in the Commonwealth of adverse health effects from wind turbines. House Bill 2049 is an Act to Protect the Health of Citizens of the Commonwealth.  As a health professional, I realize there is nothing more important than protecting the health of our population.  The first rule should be “do no harm”.  The effects of IWT on the health of our citizens should be  fully investigated by a varied, expert, qualified panel of members.

The make-up of the Commission should include:  three members of the public who live within 5,000 feet of an operating wind turbine.  A new peer reviewed study (Nissenbaum et. al ) found evidence of sleep disruption, daytime sleepinesss, and impaired mental health in people located within approximately 5,000 feet of a wind turbine.

The Commission should also include: legislators appointed by their leadership rather than by the Governor, state officials in health related fields  ( Commissioner of Public Health, Commissioner of health care finance and policy, Director of the state laboratory institute, and a  state epidemiologist)

In addition, the Commission should be composed of eight members appointed by the Governor:

  • Physician with peer-reviewed journal article on effects of industrial wind turbines on sleep and health
  • National Institute of health (NIH) researcher  PhD in otolaryngology
  • Two physicians who are experts in the treatment/research of adverse health impacts of wind turbines
  • Two Boards of Health members in communities where  wind turbines have produced complaints
  • Executive committee member of Wind Wise Massachusetts
  • Board member of Wind Wise Cape Cod

Carol Platenik R.N.
45 Saint Clair Road
Brimfield , MA 01010

———-
Joint Committee for Public Health July 9, 2013
Testimony by Virginia Irvine, 1023 Dunhamtown-Brimfield Road, Brimfield MA 01010
In favor of Bills: H.2089, H.2048, S.1041 related to establishing a Commission on the Health Impacts of Wind Turbines.

Why is a Commission needed?

The majority of wind turbines sited in Massachusetts are causing sleep disruption and health impacts to wind turbine neighbors. There are 85 operating turbines and 51 of these turbines have documented sleep disruption, health impacts and strobing nuisances from neighbors.

There are no field studies or scientific research in Massachusetts in areas surrounding wind turbines.

The Massachusetts “Wind Turbine Impact Study” issued by the MassDEP-MDPH in January 2012 was a “literature review.” This study plus the following more recent literature reviews and peer-reviewed research studies published after the DEP-MDPH review recommended further research.

The Journal of Laryngology and Otology reports in March 2013 there is “a large body of evidence now exists to suggest that wind turbines do disturb sleep and impair health at distances and sound pressures levels that are permitted in the United Kingdom.” They recommend further research.

“Industrial wind turbines can harm human health if sited too close to residents,” according to a paper in the May, 2013 issue of Canadian Family Physician.” The documented (medical) symptoms are usually stress disorder-type diseases … and can represent serious harm to human health,” the paper’s authors stated.

Three peer-reviewed studies, published after the DEP-MDPH literature review have added to the growing evidence that individuals living near industrial wind turbines face significant health risks.

Nissenbaum, Aramini and Hanning in a peer-reviewed study published in Noise and Health, concluded that “noise emissions of IWTs [industrial wind turbines] disturbed the sleep and caused daytime sleepiness and impaired mental health in residents living within 1.4 km [4,600 feet] of the two IWT installations studied.”

Ambrose, et al. found infrasound and low frequency noise (ILFN) was produced by a 1.65 MW industrial wind turbine. Also “there was a strong correlation with wind speed, power output and health symptoms.” “This acoustic study suggests that health effects reported by residents living near wind turbines may not be exclusively related to audible sounds.” The Ambrose study was performed in a home adjacent to the privately owned Notus turbine in Falmouth where the homeowners had to abandon their home and their business at great financial loss.

The Salt and Lichtenhan paper, presented at the 2012 Internoise conference, concludes “there are potential mechanisms by which low-frequency sounds could influence vestibular physiology which are being ignored by some.” Salt and Lichtenhan report that their “measurements showing that the ear generates large electrical responses to low-frequency stimulation suggest that the effects of low-frequency sound on people living near wind turbines should not be dismissed by those with little understanding of how low frequency sounds indeed affect the ear.” “More research on this topic is necessary to enlighten the scientific, medical, and legal communities, and the public, some of whom are being chronically exposed to these sounds.”

The answer that the MDPH gave for a lack of research is the lack of money.  The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has sufficient funds. The enabling legislation for the MassCEC states in Chapter21J Section 4(a) “The exercise of the powers granted by this chapter shall be in all respects for the benefit of the people of the Commonwealth and for the improvement of their health and living conditions.

The MassCEC controls the Renewable Energy Trust Fund, which is money collected from taxes on everyone’s utility bills.  It amounts to about $25 million per year. It spends this money on grants to consultants to do feasibility studies for wind projects. At the end of June 2012, the MassCEC held $105 million in RET funds and $118 million in Alternative Compliance Payments from utilities.

Now last week the Governor and his appointed officials in the Executive Office announced their CWOI [Community Wind Outreach Initiative] program, which is an attempting to circumvent the legislature and abolish local control over wind projects by having the Energy Facility Siting Board establish statewide siting standards. Pushing regulations that are not based on scientific research, epidemiological and field studies is unethical.

 

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