UN Rights of the Child and Industrial Wind Energy

Carmen Krogh, Killaloe, Ontario

The purpose of this letter is to request a meeting with members from the Ministries of Justice and Health including the Public Health Agency of Canada as soon as possible to discuss protection of children at risk from exposure to industrial wind energy facilities.

I have corresponded with several Ministers including those from Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, Justice and Attorney General regarding my concerns associated with wind energy development and children’s risk factors and Canada’s ratification in 1991, of the treaty on the Rights of the Child.

I was advised that Canada’s domestic implementation of its obligations under the Rights of the Child Convention is multi-faceted and includes “constitutional protections under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and a variety of legislation, policies, programs and services at the federal and provincial/territorial levels.”

As well, I was informed the legislative implementation of the Convention falls under the purview of the Department of Justice Canada. [Correspondence attached]

Attached is a submission provided to the Minister, Health Canada regarding the vulnerability of children to the effects of noise in general, and including risk factors specific to industrial wind turbines. [Health Canada, Risks to children, December 27 2012]

Another submission was made on behalf of Ms Shellie Correira. Attached is a copy of this submission plus the treating physician specialist’s opinion regarding her son’s risk from exposure to wind turbines. [Health Canada, Risks to children, Correia, May 15 2013]

Other submissions have been made on behalf of parents and communities which express parental concerns. These are available on request.

A review by Jan et al (2010) states:

Animal experiments unequivocally show that sleep loss even for three or four days can adversely and permanently affect neurophysiological functions and neurogenesis.

This review summarises the increasing evidence ... that chronic disturbances of sleep adversely affect brain development ... Pediatric neurologists, the scientific community and the public must be aware of these recent scientific developments. Further studies are urgently required.” [Jan JE, Review article, Long-term sleep disturbances in children: a cause of neuronal loss. European Journal of Paediatric Neurology 14 (2010) 380-390]

The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges that noise is an “underestimated threat that can cause a number of short- and long-term health problems ...” [World Health Organization Noise Facts andFigures, Sited December 23, 2012, http://www.euro.who.int/en/what-we- do/health-topics/environment-and-health/noise/facts-and-figures ]

Research indicates children’s ear damage, cognitive function and learning are affected by noise and there could be lifelong effects on academic achievement and health. Excerpts from The World Health Organization’s Training Package for the Health Sector on Children and Noise identify vulnerable groups of children at risk including the fetus and babies; preterm; children with dyslexia and hyperactivity. [World Health Organization, Children and Noise, Children’s Health and the Environment, WHO Training Package for the Health Sector, www.who.int/ceh]

Children with pre-existing medical conditions such as autism, asthma, migraine, bronchitis, and epilepsy can be vulnerable to the effects of noise and/or stress and/or sleep disturbance. [See references below]

There is a risk of noise-induced harm to children when industrial wind turbine facilities are sited in close proximity to family homes and schools.

I note that Canada played an instrumental role in drafting and promoting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. As a proud Canadian, I applaud this achievement.

Ms Correira and I look forward to the opportunity to meet with representatives from the Ministries of Justice and Health including the Public Health Agency of Canada as soon as possible to discuss protection of children at risk from exposure to industrial wind energy facilities.

[1] Cristina Becchio, Morena Mari, Umberto Castiello, (2010). Perception of Shadows in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders PLoS ONE | May 2010 | Volume 5 | Issue 5 | e10582. Retrieved from www.plosone.org
[2] Catherine Purple Cherry and Lauren Underwood. The ideal home for the autistic child: physiological rationale for design strategies. Autism Science Digest: The Journal Of Autismone, Issue 03 Retrieved from www.purplecherry.com.
[3] Flavia Cortesi, Flavia Giannotti, Anna Ivanenko, Kyle Johnson (2010). Sleep in children with autistic spectrum disorder, Sleep Medicine 11 (2010) 659–664 Retrieved from www.elsevier.com/locate/sleep
[4] Hartmut Ising, Martin Ising (2002), Chronic cortisol increases in the first half of the night caused by road traffic noise. Noise and Health 2002,4:16:p13-21 Retrieved from http://www.noiseandhealth.org/article.asp?issn=1463-1741;year=2002;volume=4;issue=16;spage=13;epage=21;aulast=Ising
[5] Bockelbrink A, Willich SN, Dirzus I, Reich A, Lau S, Wahn U, Keil T. (2008) Environmental noise and asthma in children: sex-specific differences J Asthma.2008 Nov;45(9):770-3.Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18972293
[6] Neut D, Fily A, Cuvellier JC, Vallée L (2011),. The prevalence of triggers in paediatric migraine: a questionnaire study in 102 children and adolescents. J Headache Pain. 2011 Nov 1. [Epub ahead of print] Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22042255
[7] Doreen Wagner, Velitchko Manahilov, Gunter Loffler, Gael E. Gordon, and Gordon N. Dutton, Visual Noise Selectively Degrades Vision in Migraine Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, April 2010, Vol. 51, No. 4 Retrieved from http://www.iovs.org/content/51/4/2294.full.pdf
[8] Ising H, Lange-Asschenfeldt H, Moriske HJ, Born J, Eilts M., Low frequency noise and stress: bronchitis and cortisol in children, Noise Health. 2004 Apr-Jun;6(23):21-8
[9] Gilboa T. Epilepsia. 2011 Dec 9. Emotional stress-induced seizures: Another reflex epilepsy? doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2011.03342.x. [Epub ahead ofprint] Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22150553
[10] Epilepsy Facts - Epilepsy Canada Cited March 2012, Retrieved from www.epilepsy.ca

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