I’ve written one short posting on the King Report already and certainly the Society for Wind Vigilance has written about it also. Those postings are still appropriate. I’ve recently taken the time to go through the King Report in more detail, and it is even worse than I originally thought. Since King never went into the field, a problem in itself, of necessity her references constitute all she knows of wind turbines and health. Here I take a closer look at her study, her references and how she used them.
As the SWV mentioned, her report is pretty trivial to begin with. King is the chief medical officer in the Ontario government, and the health issues of wind turbines have been a contentious and unresolved issue for quite some time. She was given the charge to provide an authoritative answer. Her “answer” is all of 14 pages long, which contains about 6 pages worth of actual content after all the white space is taken out, plus 3 pages containing 40 references.
The report is quite similar to the AWEA/CanWEA Expert Panel report, and may fairly be described as a little brother to it. There’s the same dismissal of any problems arising from annoyance, stress and sleep disturbance and the same focus on criticizing Pierpont’s hypotheses. They both use the same references as CanWEA uses for “evidence” to debunk their “myths“. They both do not include important but inconvenient references, like Nissenbaum and Harry.
This determination to minimize/eliminate the health effects of wind turbines leads King to make some remarkable statements. My personal favorite is from the summary at the start of the report: “The review concludes that while people living near wind turbines report symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and sleep disturbance, the scientific evidence available to date does not demonstrate a direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects”. Since when are dizziness, headaches and sleep disturbance not health effects? And there’s no “other direct health effects” even though “some people may find it annoying”. When health professionals use the word “annoying” they are not talking about a minor temporary bother.
Apparently she also has trouble understanding her own government’s rules. Her reading of Ontario’s wind turbine noise “Interpretation” is just flat wrong- she keeps mentioning 40 dBA when the real number can be as high as 51. Her understanding of what Ontario means by the phrase “community consultation” has no relationship to the one-way conversation that actually occurs. She uses The Table (p 55) from Ontario’s setback regulations when almost no projects do. The safety setbacks from public roads etc. are a fraction of what she thinks they are. She consistently puts the industry’s spin on all of these, perhaps wishfully thinking they will provide safety for the neighbors, in contrast to all the evidence.
She has divided the references into 5 categories: journals, grey literature, WHO, community concerns and conference papers. Of the 40 she uses 16 in the body of her report a total of 23 times, none of them from the community concerns section.
The most important section is journals, in which there are 11 references. What is curious that of the 13 different authors mentioned in this section, not one was an M.D. There is no mention of any clinical experience in any of them. I’ve studied all of the 11 references in detail (my critique runs 13 pages – a lot longer than the King Report itself) and none of them discusses health effects, or their absence, in any substantial form.
In something beyond irony, out of the total of 40 references there were only 2 M.D.’s that reported on first-hand contact with patients – Pierpont and Alves-Pereira – and King spends several paragraphs discounting their work, while uncritically accepting the studies of non-M.D.’s that at best mailed out general questionnaires.
What else is there to say? No patient visits, no doctor surveys, omitting unfavorable references, not understanding your own regulations, overstating the results of the few references you did use. How much worse can it get? The King report is unworthy. As the SWV said, it “appears to be a government-convened attempt to justify unsound practices of wind turbine development while denying the adverse health effects reported by Ontario families”.
Update. In addition the the SWV’s critique (linked above) John Harrison has also written his own response.