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Letter to the Editor on Health Effects of Wind Turbines. Published in the Globe and Mail April 7, 2010

April 6, 2010
The Editors
The Globe and Mail
444 Front St.
Dear Sir/Madam
Today's Globe editorial on the alleged health effects of wind turbines ("Turbine turbulence") leaves out the critical question of the impacts of the energy sources which wind would replace. Over 660 premature deaths per year have been attributed air pollution from Coal-fired electricity in Ontario alone, to say nothing of the upstream impacts and risks of coal mining, be they the occupational risks of underground mining so terribly demonstrated in West Virginia this week, or the destruction and consumption of entire landscapes via open-pit or mountaintop removal mining. Nuclear for its part, in addition to its cost, security and weapons proliferation risks is associated with extremely hazardous up and downstream wastes streams which will require management and care over hundreds of thousands of years, the extensive comtamination of biota and surface and groundwater around uranium mine mill operations with radioactive, toxic and conventional pollutants, resulting, among other things, in significanly elevated cancer risks for consumers of 'country' food in the vicinity of such facilities. By comparision the biophysical impacts of wind turbines, for which the evidence in the formal literature is decidely thin despite two decades of large scale deployments in the densely populated landscapes of western Europe, look rather less serious. If we are to build more sustainable energy systems then low impact renewable energy sources like wind will have to play a major role in the process
Yours sincerely,
Mark S. Winfield, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Coordinator Joint MES/JD Program
Faculty of Environmental Studies
York University
4700 Keele St.
Toronto, Ontario
M3J 1P3
Tel: 416-736-2100 ext. 21078
Fax: 416-736-5679