Yesss! Major wind turbine health study is coming — and guess who listened?
Jane Wilson, President of Wind Concerns Ontario, received a phone call from Prime Minister Harper’s office on the morning of July 10, informing her that Health Canada, supported by Statistics Canada, will conduct peer-reviewed research into the relationship between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects, with the final report to be published in 2014.
The Hon. Leona Aglukkaq, federal Minister of Health said in a news release: “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. As always, our Government is putting the health and safety of Canadians first and this study will do just that by painting a more complete picture of the potential health impacts of wind turbine noise.”
The study is being designed with the input of 26 experts in multiple disciplines including acoustics, noise, health assessment, clinical medicine, statistics and epidemiology. In addition, all comments received from the public by August 8 will be considered. The design and methodology will be reviewed by the World Health Organizaton and at international conferences. The results of the research will be reviewed by the design committee and peer-reviewed via publication in scientific journals. There will be no direct involvement of provincial governments.
The study will use a sample of 2000 homes situated between 500 m and 5 km from wind turbines in 8 to 12 facilities. Investigators will interview participants face-to-face and take physical measurements such as sleep disturbance, blood pressure and cortisol levels, correlating them with noise measurements inside and outside homes.
It has become clear that the Ontario government cannot be trusted to look out for the health of rural residents exposed to the effects of wind turbines, due to its major commitment to wind energy development. The same could apply to any other province or territory. The announcement by the federal government of a health study under its sponsorship and control is both appropriate and welcome.