The Health Hazards of Industrial Wind Turbines by Ruby Mekker

A letter sent to Eastern Ontario Landowners dated March 2, 2023 included the following question, “What will happen if wind turbines are installed in a field near you?” 

This is a valid question and there is another very important follow-up question to be asked. “Is there a health hazard associated with the wind turbines that you should be aware of?

In my community, the people of North Stormont did not know/were not formally informed that industrial wind turbines in our area may cause serious harm to human health based on the decision by the first Environmental Review Tribunal in Chatham-Kent held under the former Green Energy Act (2009).  In the decision it was stated:  

                              This case has successfully shown that the debate should not

be simplified to one about whether wind turbines can cause harm to humans. The evidence presented to the Tribunal demonstrates that they can, if facilities are placed too close to residents. The debate has now evolved to one of degree. The question that should be asked is: What protections, such as permissible noise levels or setback distances, are appropriate to protect human health?

Erickson v. Director, Ministry of the Environment (2011)

The health effects when industrial wind turbines (IWTs) were introduced to our area have been borne out since this 12 year-old Environmental Review Tribunal decision.

It is common wisdom that if you don’t have your health little else matters.

The Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) defines a “health hazard” as

(a)  a condition of a premises,

(b)  a substance, thing, plant or animal other than man, or

(c)  a solid, liquid, gas or combination of any of them,

that has or that is likely to have an adverse effect on the health of any person; (emphasis added)

Thousands of formal incident reports about noise and adverse health effects regarding industrial wind turbines and the associated infrastructure have been and continue to be reported to the Ontario Spills Line, the Ministry of Environment and local Health Units.  The noise impacts do meet the criteria for (a) and (c) of the definition, and definitely “has an adverse effect on the health” of some people. 

When complaints are filed, such as noise and adverse health effects, the HPPA under Community Health Protection, Complaint re health hazard related to occupational or environmental health states:

11 (1) Where a complaint is made to a board of health or a medical officer of health that a health hazard related to occupational or environmental health exists in the health unit served by the board of health or the medical officer of health, the medical officer of health shall notify the ministry of the Government of Ontario that has primary responsibility in the matter and, in consultation with the ministry, the medical officer of health shall investigate the complaint to determine whether the health hazard exists or does not exist.

However, to date there has been no statement made that a health hazard exists or does not exist.  While the Ontario Government has never admitted that the noise levels it permits for industrial wind turbines classify as a “health hazard”, it has also declined to assure residents that the sound emissions are not a “health hazard”, although the sitting government of the day has been pressed to do so for decades.

There is hope; this Law, the HPPA, must be adhered to.

Going back a step.  Health-related information was never given to the people of North Stormont even though we asked for it.  I only learned of IWT health concerns when a friend told me about a relative and partner who had to leave their home because of the health issues they experienced when industrial wind turbines became operational around them. 

Throughout my advocacy to protect human and environmental health I discovered a very troubling trend.  There is a common occurrence of families vacating their homes intermittently and permanently when industrial wind turbines began operating.  This extreme and drastic uprooting of families is executed only when all other government protocols and resources are exhausted.  What will you do if industrial wind turbines harm your family and your health?

Reports of adverse health impacts from industrial wind turbines have been known for more than a decade by our politicians, the Ministry of the Environment experts and Medical Officers of Health. The regulators, the licensing issuers, the enforcers are failing to protect Ontario families.

If you experience the trespass of noise, vibration, stray voltage, strobe effect, water contamination, infrasound, distorted frequencies, electromagnetic fields (EMF), radio frequency; what will you do to protect your family, yourself and your home?

For your consideration the following pages contain some of the many peer reviewed relevant researched papers and elected officials’ statements that support the potential for adverse effects resulting in human harm.  Will the health of your family, you and your neighbors be safe if industrial wind turbines come to your community?

Ruby Mekker
Finch, ON

The Ontario Government officially knew of potential health issues in 2010 when their own commissioned experts submitted their findings which stated, “The audible sound from wind turbines is nonetheless expected to result in a non-trivial percentage of the people being highly annoyed.”

In a January 3, 2012 letter written by the attorney for Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) to Ministries of Environment, Energy, and Health, quotes the Ontario’s commissioned experts’ report and ends with, “In our respectful view, amongst other things, MOE’s failure to include such information could be viewed as negligent misrepresentation and be actionable.”  The Ministry of Environment still does not “include such information.”

Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) through a Freedom of Information, wrote a paper summarizing what is happening in Ontario wind projects; Report on Wind Turbine Noise Complaints, Fourth Report, April 2018, which is found at: 

Health Canada released a report* in 2014 which has been incorrectly used by many to justify the construction of a wind turbine when the report specifically states, “results may not be generalized to areas beyond the sample as the wind turbine locations in this study were not randomly selected from all possible sites operating in Canada;”  

*Note that this study had a statistically insignificant sample of only about 300 persons. Those who were forced to move away from their homes due to negative health impacts were not included in the final analysis, nor were children or seniors.

The bottom line

There are adverse health effects related to industrial wind turbines.  The symptoms experienced are the same around the world.  Canadian authors, Ms. Carmen Krogh and Dr. Robert McMurtry, MD FRCSC FACS, former Dean of Medicine at Western University and a former Assistant Deputy Minister of Health with Health Canada, documented them in a peer reviewed medical journal in 2014, Diagnostic criteria for adverse health effects in the environs of wind turbines.

In addition the government of Ontario is now promoting Nuclear energy as a clean green stable source of energy. So why are they still keeping the gigantic wind turbines in the energy mix? This is very important. Why continue to victimize Ontario citizens for another generation?                                                             

Many countries around the world recognize the need for a 2 km setback.  Others have tied setbacks to the size of the turbine.  While Ontario continues to use outdated setbacks from the 2009 Green Energy Act based on 550 meters even while the size and Infrasound and low frequency noise (ILFN) characteristics of turbines continue to grow in orders of magnitude.  The Ontario Government allowed the 550 meter setback for the Nation Rise wind project built in 2018 in my community with a hub height of 131 m (429.79’) ; which is a 51 m (167.32’) higher than the hub height of the average turbine built in 2009.

While in opposition, our former MPP Jim McDonell raised our concern in the Legislature Hansard Transcripts 2016-Nov-30 (PDF)

Mr. Jim McDonell: I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

“Whereas industrial wind turbine developments have raised concerns among citizens over health, safety and property values; and…

 “That the Minister of the Environment conduct a thorough scientific study on the health and environmental impacts of industrial wind turbines.” The party line changed when the Progressive Conservatives formed a majority government in 2018.  Once in power the government approved the Nation Rise industrial wind project in our community. contrary to election promises.

Health concerns were raised in Ontario’s Legislature much earlier than 2016.  On February 28, 2011, Mr. John O’Toole (father of Erin O’Toole): I am very, very pleased to be able to present a petition. In fact, I have thousands of them from my riding of Durham.  “That the Minister of the Environment revise the Green Energy Act to allow full public input and municipal approvals on all industrial wind farm developments and that a moratorium on wind development be declared until an independent, epidemiological study is completed into the health and environmental impacts of industrial wind turbines.”  That was 2011.

There have been numerous petitions and private member’s bills put forward recognizing the health concerns of industrial wind turbines.  MPP Lisa Thompson, now Minister of Agriculture, March 8, 2012 said,

in Ontario, citizens living in Huron, Chatham–Kent–Essex, Dufferin, Bruce, Prince Edward, Grey, Haldimand and Norfolk counties, as well as Nepean–Carleton, to name just a few, have filed hundreds of complaints with the Ministry of the Environment regarding adverse health effects since wind turbines started operating.”,  and continued,

“we have to protect those in the province who are looking to be positioned as collateral damage 

Ontario’s current Minister of Health, Sylvia Jones, whose riding has multiple industrial wind turbines repeatedly spoke in the Legislature, Hansard Transcripts 2013-Apr-18 (PDF), raising health concerns.

Ms. Sylvia Jones: This ties into another major issue with Bill 39, which is the health concerns that surround industrial wind turbines’ proximity to residential homes. Again, I raised that issue with setbacks and possible adverse health effects in debate four years ago…. In essence, these problems were all well known to the Liberal government in 2009 and have been known to them for four years. They’ve done nothing about it.

Sadly, although now in a position of power and responsibility, it seems more politically expedient to hide behind the mantra of “no known impacts” rather than listen to the people or follow the Health Protection and Promotion Act of Ontario.

Our local Medical Officer of Health for Eastern Ontario, Dr. Roumeliotis, and staff members came to our home. He sat in our kitchen for over an hour and listened to our concerns. Also present, via phone, was  Carmen Krogh a retired pharmacist whose career includes: senior executive positions at a teaching hospital (Director of Pharmacy); a drug information researcher at another teaching hospital; a Director of a professional organization; a Consultant at the Bureau of Human Prescription Drugs (Health Canada); and Director (A) at Health Canada (PMRA).

Ms. Krough followed up with a letter to Dr. Roumeliotis and attending staff members, summarizing the discussion, the health issues, and the medical papers discussed.

September 19, 2020 Dr. Roumeliotis announced a Health Hazard Investigation following the duty prescribed under the Health Protection and Promotion Act of Ontario, Section 11.  He announced he would be working in consultation with the Ministry of Environment and would wait for the Ministry’s noise assessment report which was due June, 2022.  Nothing has been forthcoming yet.  Meanwhile, some people continue to file noise and adverse health Incident Reports while others have given up.

The report’s Key Points stated,

▪ Complaints about wind power projects are part of the process government promised would ensure protection of health and safety.

▪In total, almost 6,000 files of complaints about wind turbine noise, vibration and sound pressure have been released to Wind Concerns by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.

 ▪ Of those 39 percent of complaints in 2018 noted adverse health effects in addition to concerns about noise, vibration, water etc.

WCO, March, 2018, published “Community group coalition recommends 2-kilomseter setback for Ontario wind turbines to protect health, safety”, further detailing what people experience, describing the people’s comments as “just heartbreaking”.   The article includes a link to “Library filed under Impact on People” which includes 217 articles from around the world.

Our politicians were aware of health concerns ever since industrial wind turbines began cropping up across the province.  It’s interesting to note that all standards, metrics and measurements for noise only reference the audible dBa scale. No study has been conducted or standards set for what is commonly referred to ILFN (Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise) which is below the normal threshold of human hearing but that is exactly the spectrum known to cause negative impacts.

Worth noting, people are expected to file noise and adverse health Incident Reports with the Ministry of Environment via the “Spills line”.  The question is – why should people report medical issues to a Ministry with no medical credentials?

 So many of IWT symptoms are attributed to other things. Some people are more sensitive than their neighbours or other family members while others just don’t know because negative impacts build up over time without a clear cause-effect.  A simple test is to leave the turbine area to see if the condition improves and if the symptoms return when you return home.

Following is a summary which I ask people to post on their fridges; they are not imagining things

AHE/IWT – Adverse Health Effects/Industrial Wind Turbines

Dr. R. McMurtry & Carmen Krogh


Categories of diagnosis

1. Possible: a potential diagnosis is considered in the differential diagnosis.

2. Probable: cause of complaints is more likely than not related to adverse health effects in the environs of industrial wind turbines (AHE/IWT).

3. Presumed: no other explanation for the diagnosis of AHE/IWT can be found by history, physical and after appropriate investigations.

4. Confirmed: other diagnoses are very unlikely i.e. less than one chance in 20.


Probable diagnosis7

First-order criteria (all four of the following must be present)

(a) Domicile within up to 10km from IWT.9

(b) Altered health status following the start-up of, or initial exposure to, and during the operation of IWT. There may be a latent period of up to six months.

(c) Amelioration of symptoms when more than 10km from the environs of IWT.

(d) Recurrence of symptoms upon return to environs of IWT.


Second-order criteria (at least three of the following occur or worsen after the initiation of operation of IWT)

(a) Compromise of quality of life.

(b) Continuing sleep disturbance, difficulty initiating sleep and/or difficulty with sleep disruption.

(c) Annoyance producing increased levels of stress and/or psychological distress.

(d) Preference to leave residence temporarily or permanently for sleep and/or restoration.


Third-order criteria

Three or more of the following frequently occur or worsen following the initiation of IWT. If the symptoms described in second-order criteria (b and c) are present, no further symptoms or complaints are required for the probable diagnosis. Based on the authors’ experience,10 the following list provides an indication of the more common symptoms:



(a) Tinnitus

(b) Dizziness

(c) Difficulties with balance

(d) Ear ache

(e) Nausea

(f) Headache



(a) Difficulty in concentrating

(b) Problems with recall or difficulties with recall



(a) Hypertension

(b) Palpitations

(c) Enlarged heart (cardiomegaly)



(a) Mood disorder, i.e. depression and anxiety

(b) Frustration

(c) Feelings of distress

(d) Anger


Regulatory disorders

(a) Difficulty in diabetes control

(b) Onset of thyroid disorders or difficulty controlling hypo- or hyper-thyroidism



(a) Fatigue

(b) Sleepiness7


Presumed diagnosis

If following a fulsome history, physical and completed investigations no alternative explanation is apparent, and the criteria of probable diagnosis have been met, then a presumed diagnosis of AHE/IWT is warranted. AHE/IWT exists until proven otherwise


Another looming health issue is the matter of BPA. Bisphenol-A is an endocrine disrupting chemical that can act as a hormone and disrupt the human endocrine system and has particular concerns for reproductive dysfunction, infertility and inflammation. BPA has been banned in drinking water but few are aware that BPA has been a key component in the manufacture of turbine blades. These blades often deteriorate and have to be replaced within 10 years. They constantly shed BPA for literally hundreds of meters downwind onto our prime agricultural land (offshore, over ocean waters). They make no distinction for organic farms and non-GMO foodstuffs which our population believes will keep them safe.

Please do your research, stay informed and feel free to ask this writer for more information.