Health Canada announces further studies on wind power

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…”

One health concern is the impact of noise pollution from wind power installations.

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.”

Tuesday’s announcements renewed calls from wind opponents for a moratorium on new projects while the issue is studied further. Health Canada’s review should conclude sometime in  2014.
More of NCPR’s extensive coverage on this issue can be found here.

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10 Comments on “Health Canada announces further studies on wind power”

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  1. mervel says:

    OK they want to stop wind turbines while they are wrecking the rest of the world with that crappy sludge from that massive scar in the earth they have created in Alberta digging out so called tar sands.

    This is a joke and probably financed by the powerful mineral and oil interests that control Canadian energy policy.

  2. tootightmike says:

    When they do mountain-top removal in Ohio and West Virginia, nobody’s sound pollution is considered. The process takes years, and when it’s done, nothing can be done with the land…EVER.

  3. mervel says:

    I know, the Tar sands pit in northern Alberta are considered one of the most polluted areas in the world, and we are worried about the sound of wind turbines?

    I do wonder what is going on with this anti-wind turbine movement? Is it funded by oil interests? Or are people really that clueless and selfish?

  4. mervel says:

    Its not a Canadian thing only its in the US also. When I saw all of the wealthy people in Mass, including the Kennedy’s opposing wind turbines out there because it hurt their views and potentially property values, I knew something was up.

  5. Kent Gregson says:

    Here’s what’s up. The way investors in the finite fossil fuels industry play their many hands the faster the last drop of oil, coal, natural gas and such is produced and sold, the more money that last drop and previous drops will be worth. Hence a better yeild for the investment. There are estimates that by the time we’ve used up all the petrochemicals the oil companies and their owners will own 3/4 of all the world’s assets. Seems like a low estimate to me.

  6. Dan Wrightman says:

    The perception isn’t the reality up here in Canada. In the province of Ontario andf elsewhere the wind industry IS the fossil fuel industry. Suncor, Epcor, TransAlta and Enbridge are all big players in the Ontario wind industry, and they are all involved in either tar sands production, coal generated electricity or natural gas and oil pipelines. Every subsidised dollar of profit that these corporations recieve from wind energy is just another dollar to put towards intensive capital expenditures for fossil fuel extraction. Wind energy is just a bonus revenue stream for these fossil fuel corporations, courtesy of the suckers of Ontario. How does subsisising these corporations help the environment?

  7. mervel says:

    Kent, at one time I thought that was true.

    But I think we may be entering a new phase of exploration with new techniques and almost for all practical purposes, unlimited carbon based fuels. Sure limited, but like 500 hundred years limited.

  8. mervel says:

    It looks as if North Dakota will produce more oil this year than Texas. How many other North Dakota’s are out there around the world or at the bottom of the sea? How many more tar sands are out there?

  9. mervel says:

    I just don’t get opposing wind power, at a very base level I just don’t understand.

  10. It's Still All Bush's Fault says:


    “Follow the money” is an overused expression, but when looking at the wind issue you have to follow the money. It doesn’t matter what side of the issue, for or against.

    I have watched one local community split in two over the issue. The local anti-wind “group” is almost solely funded by a very wealthy resident whose considerable land holdings didn’t happen to be within the impact area, so there was no opportunity to make money on wind. It was the typical 1%er who didn’t want to see any of the 99% make a nickel.

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