Nissenbaum, M. Affidavit – Saskatoon – Red Lily Wind Power


I, DR. MICHAEL M. NISSENBAUM, M.D., of the City of Fort Kent, Maine, United States of America, MAKE OATH AND SAY AS THAT:

1. I am from the University of Toronto Medical School with post-graduate training at McGill University and the University of California.

2. I am a specialist in diagnostic imaging, whose training and work involves developing and utilizing an understanding of the effects of energy deposition, including sound on human tissues. I am a former Associate Director of MRI at a major Harvard Hospital, a former faculty member (junior) at Harvard University, and a published author.

3. I developed an interest in the health effects of wind turbine projects after becoming aware of complaints related to an industrial wind turbine installation in Mars Hill, Maine, and subsequently investigating the widespread and serious health effects suffered by most of the residents of Mars Hill, who live in proximity (within 1100 meters) to a linear arrangement of twenty-eight 1.5 MW wind turbines.

4. I have recently conducted a study of the health effects of persons living within 1100 meters of the Mars Hill Wind Turbine Project in Aroostook County, Maine, which consists of 28 wind turbines. Each turbine is 389 feet tall, from base to blade tip. This study is important because it represents the first controlled study of adverse health effects attributed to industrial wind turbines.

5. As part of the study, 22 of an estimated 30 adults living in the affected area were interviewed. Subjects interviewed included 10 females ranging in age from 18 to 73, and 12 males ranging in age from 43 to 79. The CONTROL group comprised 27 individuals, 12 female and 13 male, age ranges and averages comparable to the subjects. The control group lived on average 5000 meters away from the turbine installation. A true copy of the map of the study area is attached to this, my Affidavit, and marked as Exhibit “B”.

6 . Of the 22 subjects I interviewed, 18 of them (82%), reported a new onset or worsened sleep disturbance since the Mars Hill Wind Turbine Project went online in December 2006. 17 of those interviewed (77%) reported their sleep disturbance problems included waking up in the middle of the night, while 10 (45%) reported difficulty falling asleep. There were 5 new prescription medications for chronic sleep disturbance in this group of 22 subjects. In the CONTROL group, only 1 individual (4%) reported a new or worsened sleep disturbance in the same time period since the turbines went online. There were no new prescriptions for sleep disturbance in the CONTROL group.

7. Of the 22 subjects I interviewed, 9 of them (41%) reported increased headaches since the Mars Hills Wind Turbine Project went online in December 2006, with 7 of them (32%) reporting a new onset of headaches and 2 of them (9%) reporting increased migraine frequency. There were three new prescriptions for headache mediation in this group. The CONTROL group had 1 individual (4%) with a worsened headache problem in this same time period.

8. Of the 22 subjects I interviewed, 3 of them (14%) reported new or worsened problems with dizziness since the Mars Hills Wind Turbine Project went online in December 2006, 3 (14%) reported tinnitus, 3 (14%) reported a new problem with ear pulsation sensations, and 1 (5%) reported periodic ear pain. There were no auditory or vestibular complaints in the CONTROL group.

9. Of the 22 subjects I interviewed, 7 of them (32%) reported they have been troubled by shadow flicker since the Mars Hills Wind Turbine Project went online in December 2006, with 2 (9%) of those reporting nausea, and 4 (18%) reporting dizziness. 1 (5%) reported triggering migraine headaches by shadow flicker, and 2 (9%) reported a feeling of unease created by shadow flicker. There were no complaints related to shadow flicker in the CONTROL group.

10. Of the 22 subjects I interviewed, 8 of them (36%) reported they have experienced unintentional weight changes since the Mars Hills Wind Turbine Project went online in December 2006, with 6 of those reporting weight gain and 1 reporting weight loss. In the CONTROL group, there was 1 person (4%) who experienced unintentional weight change in that period.

11. Many of those affected by the Mars Hill Wind Turbine Project also reported new or worsened psychiatric symptomatology, including feelings of “stress” (13 people or 59%), “anger” (17 people or 77%), “anxiety” (7 people or 32%), “irritability” (6 people or 27%), “hopelessness” (12 people or 55%), and “depression” (10 people or 45%). Of those 8 persons who reported experiencing feelings of “depression,” all of those reported that such feelings are new since the Mars Hills Wind Turbine project went online in December 2006. There were 4 new or increased prescriptions for psychiatric medication in the subject group. The control group reported no new or increased psychiatric complaints. …

16. One hundred percent of the persons I interviewed reported they had considered moving away. None of the CONTROL group admitted to considering moving away during that time period.

17. It is my professional opinion that there is a high probability of significant adverse health effects for those whose residence is located within 1100 meters of a 1.5 MW turbine installation based upon the experiences of the subject group of individuals living in Mars Hill, Maine. It is my professional opinion, based on the basic medical principle of having the exposure to a substance proven noxious at a given dose before risking an additional exposure, that significant risk of adverse health effects are likely to occur in a significant subset of people out to at least 2000 meters away from an industrial wind turbine installation. These health concerns include:

  1. Sleep disturbances/sleep deprivation and the multiple illnesses that cascade from chronic sleep disturbance. These include cardiovascular diseases mediated by chronically increased levels of stress hormones, weight changed, and metabolic disturbances including the continuum of impaired glucose tolerance up to diabetes.
  2. Psychological stresses which can result in additional effects including cardiovascular disease, chronic depression, anger, and other psychiatric symptomatology.
  3. Increased headaches.
  4. Unintentional adverse changes in weight.
  5. Auditory and vestibular system disturbances.
  6. Increased requirement for and use of prescription medication. …

23. The Environmental Assessment at Page 79 states, “setback distances to residences and other receptors of about 400m (varying from 300m to 600m, depending on site-specific characteristics) have demonstrated to be generally adequate to reduce the nature and frequency of audible noise emissions to levels within acceptable nuisance thresholds”. I strongly disagree with this statement. The authors of the Environmental Assessment, not being medical doctors, did not describe the health significance or severity of the “nuisance” in medical terms. A review of the controlled Mars Hill, Maine findings and the uncontrolled findings of Dr. McMurtry and Carmen Krogh, however, indicates that this “nuisance”, is one of the root causes of sleep disturbance and secondary negative health effects suffered by the residents of Mars Hill, Maine. …

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