Prof Robert McMurtry, Former Dean of Medicine, Writes to the AMA

The following email was sent to Dr Steve Hambleton and Professor Geoff Dobb by Professor Robert McMurtry, to accompany the commentary below:

Please find attached a brief commentary on the above statement. The statement is disappointing in that while supporting evidence driven action it falls short on calling for the relevant research which could settle the issue.

One key fact should stand out to any person who purports to be objective about the controversy and that is that those concerned about adverse health effects have been seeking third party research for 7 years commencing with the Academy of Medicine of France. Personally I brought forward the same request at legislative committee hearings in the province of Ontario in 2009 which was acted upon with funding awarded to the University of Waterloo. In the fall of 2013 the first product of the research was a poster that once again demonstrated the same pattern of adverse health effects. We are awaiting publication of the paper.

The simple question why do proponents of wind energy resist such third party, arms length research and the those concerned about health effects support it?

I hope the AMA will change this regrettable stance as any person or group committed to evidence-based practice ought to feel compelled to do.

Thank you for considering this submission.



Professor McMurtry’s Commentary is below

Dr Hambleton, President AMA
Professor Dobb, Vice President AMA
Federal & State AMA Councillors
AMA Members

Re AMA Position Statement Wind Farms and Health

1. I am a Canadian citizen, formerly a dean of medicine, assistant deputy minister of health federally and a practising orthopaedist. I am a founding member of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded Evidence Network.


2. I have engaged with over 100 exposed individuals residing near industrial wind developments in the province of Ontario. These cases are documented.1

3. I have appeared as an expert witness on behalf of plaintiffs in actions versus the erection of wind farms too proximate to human habitation.

4. I am writing to comment on the AMA Position Statement. The position statement is surprising. It is not well informed, references are absent and the authors of the document are undisclosed. Many of the phrases and claims in the document faithfully reflect wind industry claims, claims which cannot be substantiated.

5. Review of the existing evidence in which direct assessment of exposed individuals has been carried out uniformly reveals adverse health effects2. The common denominator of complaints consists of sleep disturbance, inner ear disturbance and stress response. These are serious adverse health effects. These adverse health events have been reported globally in the media and grey literature.

5. I concur with that part of the AMA document that asserts that siting of wind farms “should be guided by the evidence”. Unfortunately the remainder of the AMA document fails to meet that standard.

6. I challenge the AMA to support third party research that leads to simultaneous physiological monitoring of exposed individuals during sleep and concurrent recording of sound pressure levels (SPL) including all frequencies (infrasound and low frequency sound) as well as weighted and unweighted decibel or sound intensity levels in the bedroom and outside the home. [Note averaging of SPL should not be done exclusively since key characteristics of the noise such as cresting and amplitude modulation will be excluded.]

7. In the absence of the information outlined in #6 above there has not been nor can there be evidence–based guidelines for the siting of wind turbines. This fact ought to concern the AMA and all responsible physicians.

8. More details are available upon request.



1. Krogh C.M.E., Gillis L., Kouwen N., and Aramini J., WindVOiCe, a Self-Reporting Survey: Adverse Health Effects, Industrial Wind Turbines, and the Need for Vigilance Monitoring Bulletin of Science Technology & Society 2011 31: 334.

2. Arra M., and Lynn, H., Literature Review 2013, Association between Wind Turbine Noise and Human Distress, presented to the Grey Bruce Health Unit in March 2013, since submitted for peer review and publication. ( )

Download Dr McMurtry’s letter →

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