Oh No Alex!

alex-health canada

“Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week, Mr White said “the whole world needs to de-carbonise” and renewable energy was part of that. Onshore wind energy was the most cost-effective renewable energy currently available for Ireland.

Mr White said there was no evidence for the claim that wind turbines were a threat to people’s health, though it was the case that they could cause irritation and annoyance. He said he thought improvements could be made on the issues of noise and shadow flickering.”

(Irish Times, 29/11/2015)

To back up this preposterous statement, which was so glibly delivered to the Irish public on national radio; but which is wholly contrary to a wealth of peer-reviewed research, Mr White relied on a “robust” Canadian study.

Unfortunately, the study on which the Minister relied has been described as “fraudulent” and “deliberately misleading”.

The study  was by “Health Canada”, a government-funded ‘think-tank’ with close ties to the wind industry.

The methodology of this research (which was never peer-reviewed before publication) was described as follows:

“The study was undertaken in two Canadian provinces, Ontario (ON) and Prince Edward Island (PEI), where there were a sufficient number of homes within the vicinity of wind turbine installations. The study consisted of three primary components: an in-person questionnaire, administered by Statistics Canada to randomly selected participants living at varying distances from wind turbine installations; collection of objectively measured outcomes that assess hair cortisol, blood pressure and sleep quality; and, more than 4000 hours of WTN measurements conducted by Health Canada to support the calculation of WTN levels at residences captured in the study scope. To support the assessment and reporting of data, and permit comparisons to other studies, residences were grouped into different categories of calculated outdoor A-weighted WTN levels as follows: less than 25 dB; 25-<30dB; 30-<35dB; 35-<40dB; and greater than or equal to 40 dB”.

The report has been savaged by a number of prominent researchers.

Sarah Laurie has a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery from Flinders University (1995) and is CEO of the WAUBRA Foundation (http://waubrafoundation.org.au/), a medical research organisation conducting research into the health effects of wind turbines. Dr Laurie is regarded as one of the leading medical experts in the world for her research into the health effects of wind turbines. She had the following to say:

“For too long vested interests have got away with labelling these courageous professionals as “anti – wind” and ignored the message that there is a very real problem. Far too often the interests of the wind industry, and governments and bureaucracies promoting wind technology have had far too much influence in ignoring the evident problems. Some of the comments in the information provided about the Health Canada study, together with the lack of participation of those researchers with the most knowledge of the situation at existing IWD in Canada such as Dr Robert McMurtry and Ms Carmen Krogh, give me cause for grave concern about the true intentions and motivations of those conducting this research. This will inevitably result in an outcome which is not trusted, and which may be less than useful in truly understanding the depth and extent of the problems, which would seem to be a waste of precious research resources, time and effort. I would urge the committee to consider these comments and make appropriate changes, to improve the design of the study, broaden the range of personnel involved, and thereby improve the usefulness of the research.”

“It appears that this vitally important existing knowledge about what happens to people who are exposed to LFN, has somehow been “forgotten”, or never “discovered” by almost all medical practitioners, public health experts, and seemingly most acousticians working for the wind industry.

It is worth highlighting that for those sensitized to wind turbine LFN, it would appear the only solution currently for these sick people in Canada, as in other parts of the world, is to abandon their homes. This is currently happening, with “wind turbine refugees” being reported in many countries. Until relatively recently, their plight and their suffering has been largely hidden from public view.”

To comment on portions of the Health Canada study itself (portion first in bold, Dr Laurie’s comment after):

“Health Canada, in collaboration with Statistics Canada, will undertake a cross-­‐sectional field study to evaluate these self-­‐reported health impacts and symptoms of illness against objective biomarkers of stress and the sound levels generated by wind turbines, including low frequency noise. This data will be correlated with calculated wind turbine noise so that any potential relationship to reported health symptoms can be reliably determined”

Dr Laurie commented:

“I am concerned that this process is too far removed from the actual measurement of acoustic emissions inside homes and the direct human physiological responses to be of any use whatsoever. It ignores both the individual variability of response (some people being more susceptible than others) and it is ignoring that over time people’s responses will change. So the responses when people are relatively wind turbine “naïve” which may be normal initially, will be likely to be substantially different if remeasured some time later (months – years).”


“The research design includes a computer-­‐assisted personal interview using a questionnaire consisting of modules that probe endpoints such as noise annoyance, quality of life, sleep quality, stress, chronic illnesses and perceived impacts on health”

Dr Laurie commented:

“This process and the materials used needs much more transparency. The questionnaire itself is unknown, and the clinical training of those administering the questionnaire is also not clear. For too long, trained skilled experienced general physicians have not been involved in collecting the front line clinical data – and the results of those who have done so on their own initiative (eg Dr Amanda Harry (UK), Dr David Iser, (Australia), Dr Nina Pierpont, (USA), Dr Robert McMurtry, (Canada) and myself (Australia) have been universally ignored by the health authorities, particularly those in public health departments. Good clinical skills are essential in order to properly detect these problems with appropriate questioning, and there is no evidence that this crucial ingredient has been taken into account.”


“Sampling will be conducted on volunteers that are at least 18 years of age”

Dr Laurie comments:

“This excludes children, who are one of the most vulnerable groups in our society with respect to their exposure to operating wind turbines. This was identified in the previous section and highlighted in red by me – “the most vulnerable groups such as children, the chronically ill, and the elderly”. Indeed they are the most vulnerable to the effects of chronic exposure to operating wind turbines, and therefore I suggest they need to be a priority in the study design, and it is not clear to me that the chronically ill and the elderly have been identified as a priority.

Young children and teenagers are already reported to be suffering from sleep deprivation, cognitive problems, behavioural problems, and inner ear problems, and this is being reported by their parents, their teachers, and in some instances their treating doctors. Dr Pierpont’s case data contains multiple examples, and affidavits and witness statements lodged for court actions in Ontario alone contain others.

Any health study purporting to investigate adverse health effects of operating wind turbines must not exclude the most vulnerable members of our society.”


Other quotable comments by Dr Laurie on the Health Canada study speak for themselves:

“The proposed method in this study for determining whether or not there is a change in blood pressure resulting from exposure to operating wind turbines is useless.”


“The hair cortisol measure could well be very useful as an indicator of chronic stress if reliable normative values have been established, and if it is possible to get a reasonably reliable estimate of likely individual exposure to the full spectrum of acoustic frequencies by gathering representative sample data of actual measurements inside homes, NOT estimates or calculations. It is not clear if this is contemplated with this study from the limited information provided.”


“Experienced sleep physician colleagues advise that actigraphy is a very crude measure of sleep disturbance, because it measures body movement, which can misrepresent the true sleep experience, and true arousals. They have suggested that much more useful information would come from using in home sleep studies “in the field” combined with concurrent full spectrum acoustic monitoring, and usage of a pulse transit time (PTT) device as an estimate of blood pressure which is non invasive and will not cause disturbance of its own.”

Dr Laurie concludes her report thus:

Concluding remarks
The study design proposed by Health Canada has numerous serious flaws.
The selection of personnel would appear to specifically exclude those with direct independent clinical and acoustic field research experience in this area, and include those who have vested interests to protect or ideologies to promote. It does not appear that experienced clinicians have been extensively consulted with respect to the study design.
The choice of less than gold standard techniques for collecting the clinical / physiological data will not yield the most useful results, if indeed the aim is to investigate why these reported effects are occurring and what is directly causing them.

Significant changes, as suggested, would need to be made to make the most of this important opportunity to objectively investigate the serious health problems being reported. If these changes are not adopted, the information obtained could well be less than useful, and at worst could be misleading..
This outcome is in no one’s interests, least of all the wind industry itself.
Dr Sarah Laurie, Chief Executive Officer, Waubra Foundation”

Dr Laurie later told reporters:

“The Canadian studies by Health Canada are fraudulent in my view, and were never designed to investigate the problem – that was obvious from the study design. I critiqued it in detail but of course they took no notice: because the intention was always to manufacture propaganda to allow the party to continue. An absolute disgrace…”.

The report by Dr. Laurie is too extensive to fully reproduce, but the full report and critique of the Health Canada study can be found here: http://waubrafoundation.org.au/resources/laurie-s-comments-proposed-health-canada-study/

The Health Canada study was similarly savaged by many other leading researchers. These reviews can be found here: http://waubrafoundation.org.au/library/responses-health-canada/

and here: https://www.masterresource.org/ontario-canada/contradictions-bias-health-canada-wind-turbine-noise-study/ ;

and here: http://howgreenisthis.org/library/human-impact/response-to-health-canada-study-on-wind-turbine-noise/


And the Minister is basing his national policy on this “robust study”?


Oh no, Alex!

About Neil van Dokkum

Neil van Dokkum (B. SocSc; LLB; LLM; PGC Con.Lit) Neil is a law lecturer and has been so since arriving in Ireland from South Africa in 2002. Prior to that Neil worked in a leading firm of solicitors from 1987-1992, before being admitted as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa (a barrister) in 1992. He published three books in South Africa on employment law and unfair dismissal, as well as being published in numerous national and international peer-reviewed journals. Neil currently specialises in employment law, medical negligence law, family law and child protection law. He dabbles in EU law (procurement and energy). Neil retired from full-time practice in 2002 to take up a lecturing post. He has published three books since then, “Nursing Law for Irish Students (2005); “Evidence” (2007); and “Nursing Law for Students in Ireland” (2011). His current interest is the area of disability as a politico-economic construct. Neil is very happily married to Fiona, and they have two sons, Rory and Ian.
This entry was posted in Dr Sarah Laurie; Steve Cooper; Bob McMurtry; Alun Evans, Paudie Coffey; series compensation; Fine Gael; Alan Kelly; Alex White, Wind Turbine Syndrome; Professor Alun Evans and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Oh No Alex!

  1. Pat OBrien says:

    Excellent Neil! you should send it to White



  2. Agnes Doolan says:

    I have contacted Carmen Krogh and asked her to respond to Alex White on the Health Canada Study.She has agreed to do so but it will take a few weeks. will share it when I get it.

  3. pattikellar says:

    Reblogged this on pattikellar and commented:
    Should refer you to that the Health Canada ‘study’ on Wind Turbines, you might want to have this information in your back pocket…… Knowledge is Power.

  4. HotAir says:

    Heard The Week on the radio and I was wondering what Alex White was doing.
    Everything (“scientifically” proven right) was completely wrong and not true.
    He gave all “the Answers” like a freight train.
    We, the irish people still do not understand what “green energy” or “renewable energy” or alternative energy is. Ask Mr. Alex White, he is the enlightenment. There we go again.
    Maybe to much respect for the Wind Energy lobby?

    By the way, the anchor just let your man talk and talk and talk. No critical questions came out of the mouth.
    What a propaganda and disinformation, I should say.

  5. Pat Swords says:

    This represents a classic pantomime scenario; do you see it, do you not, etc. The bottom line is that this type of cowboy governance is a joke. It is not the legal obligation of the citizen to prove a negative, but the defined legal obligation of the State to prove a positive before it engages in such a programme, in particular as it has a duty of care both to its own citizens and the environment at large. If we take the ‘reasons’ defined in the introduction to the Aarhus Convention:

    “Recalling further General Assembly resolutions 37/7 of 28 October 1982 on the World Charter for Nature and 45/94 of 14 December 1990 on the need to ensure a healthy environment for the well-being of individuals”,

    “Recalling the European Charter on Environment and Health adopted at the First European Conference on Environment and Health of the World Health Organization in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, on 8 December 1989”,

    “Recognizing also that every person has the right to live in an environment adequate to his or her health and well-being, and the duty, both individually and in association with others, to protect and improve the environment for the benefit of present and future generations”,

    “Considering that, to be able to assert this right and observe this duty, citizens must have access to information, be entitled to participate in decision-making and have access to justice in environmental matters, and acknowledging in this regard that citizens may need assistance in order to exercise their rights”,

    “Recognizing the importance of fully integrating environmental considerations in governmental decision-making and the consequent need for public authorities to be in possession of accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date environmental information”,

    All of this is not only common sense, it is part of EU and National Law, indeed even more specifically so through the Directive on Strategic Environmental Assessment 2001/42/EC and it’s so called implementation in Ireland, S.I. No. 435 of 2004.



    So really all of this information on the health impacts of wind turbines should have been available in advance, the mitigation measures established and the public participation completed before the relevant plan and programme adopted. Plus this should have been followed up by the legally required monitoring for unforeseen adverse environmental impacts.

    Instead we have a complete gobshite, who has failed to comply with his legal obligations above, spouting some half facts he can lay his hands on to support the mess that he has been instrumental in creating, while at the same time complete gobshites in the media, who do not research anything other than their own navels, failing to challenge him on the legal obligations and duty of care.

    Protect Rural Ireland is right, get rid of these gobshites, while if people stopped engaging with the rubbish on the media, for that is what it is, then there would be less commercial revenue for them and we might end up with an information service which is actually of some use.


  7. Pingback: It’s “Academic Research”, it must be true! | The Law is my Oyster

  8. Margaret says:

    well doneyet again Neil…

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