The debate on wind power involves competing arguments about economic viability, environmental and visual impact and possible health issues for those living near wind farms.
On Tuesday Health Canada announced it would undertake further review of the subject explaining that “Currently, there is insufficient evidence to conclude whether or not there is a relationship between exposure to the noise from wind turbines and adverse human health effects…”
As reported in the Globe and Mail:
“This study is in response to questions from residents living near wind farms about possible health effects of low frequency noise generated by wind turbines,” said Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq. The research, she said, will paint “a more complete picture of the potential health impacts of wind turbine noise.”
Here are the first paragraphs of Health Canada’s official website for public comment:
Notice to Stakeholders – Health Canada Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study
Health Canada is working with Statistics Canada and other external experts possessing expertise in areas including noise, health assessment, clinical medicine and epidemiology, to design a research study that will explore the relationship between wind turbine noise and the extent of health effects reported by, and objectively measured in, those living near wind power developments. The design methodology will be peer-reviewed by the World Health Organization as well as multidisciplinary experts in conference settings.
The research design for this Health Canada study is being posted for a 30-day comment period to allow public review and input. Feedback obtained through the consultation, as well as the responses provided by Health Canada officials, will be compiled and posted on the Department’s website in alignment with transparent business practices.
And here is a Q & A page from the same source.
The Ottawa Citizen reports that Jane Wilson, president of the anti-wind group Wind Concerns Ontario, was thrilled when she heard the news:
“Wow, I said, is it Christmas? It’s July!” she said in an interview. “This is exactly what we’ve been saying all along, that there really wasn’t the science there to base policy on.”
Wilson is confident the study will confirm the link between wind turbines and human health. “The symptoms that are being reported by people in Ontario are the same as those being reported around the world,” she said. “So there really is something there.”
But the wind industry had a much different response.
“We believe that the balance of scientific evidence clearly shows that wind turbines don’t have an impact on human health,” said Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association. “That’s been supported by numerous reviews of the scientific literature.”