Wes Keller, Orangeville Citizen
The Health Canada study into possible human health effects from wind turbine sound is designed to identify the source of both real and imagined problems from both the objectivity of science and the subjectivity of interviews with persons living near commercial wind farms. Health Canada acknowledges that lowfrequency sound can increase the pressure of sound “disproportionately” and can cause a “rattling” of light objects within some receptor homes.
It also acknowledges that distance from turbines is only one of several factors influencing the effects of sound. Other factors, it says, include type of turbine, intervening structures, existing background sound levels, wind speed and direction, topography and meteorological conditions. All such things are likely to be assessed as part of the study of about a dozen communities.
The federal ministry has yet to reveal which wind farm areas are among the eight to 12 communities to be studied, and specifically whether it would include the Melancthon Wind Farm, the first commercial-scale one in Ontario. It does say, however, that it has selected 2,000 homes that are closer than 600 metres to turbines. Melancthon Phase 1 has some that are reported to be within 300 metres. The design for Phase 2 called for setbacks of at least 450 metres. Since then, Ontario has set a criterion of a 550-metre setback from non-participating receptor homes. Possibly because low-frequency sound travels farther that audible ones, the study will include homes within 10 kilometres of turbines. Read article