Grey Bruce Health Unit: Literature Review 2013 Association Between Wind Turbine Noise and Human Distress

Public Health Bruce GreyRead: Literature Review 2013 Association Between Wind Turbine Noise and Human Distress

On September 21, 2012 the Board of Health heard presentations from several groups of residents who were living near wind turbine developments and experiencing various symptoms.  The Board requested that a review of the literature be done and reported to them.  Dr. Ian Arra (research co-ordinator at the University of Western Ontario) volunteered to do the systematic literature review.

Null Hypothesis (investigation will disprove or fail to disprove, never prove)There is no association between wind turbines induced-noise and human distress.

Stage One: Define the key words and search the databases for all articles. (7 databases were searched)

Stage Two: Screen all the titles and abstracts and remove those which do not fit our search criteria.

Stage Three: Get the full article and scan it for inclusion criteria and exclusion criteria.

Inclusion criteria:

  • Studies exploring association between wind turbine noise and distress
  • Studies published in peer-reviewed journals (14 different journals from 6 Countries were included)
  • English language
  • Studies involving humans

Exclusion criteria:

  • Interim analysis
  • Updates
  • Duplicate reports
  • Cost effectiveness and economic studies

Variables Examined in the Studies:

  • Annoyance (sensitivity to noise)
  • Dose response
  • Economic benefit
  • Infrasound/road traffic/rural environment
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Visual impact
  • Well being/Quality of life


  • All studies rejected the Null Hypothesis – in other words, evidence of association was found in all included studies.
  • Evidence is weak – level 4 and 5
  • Three studies showed dose-response relationship
  • The criteria for causality has not been met, but the consistency of this association would warrant further research with different designs and investigation of multiple hypothesis.

32 thoughts on “Grey Bruce Health Unit: Literature Review 2013 Association Between Wind Turbine Noise and Human Distress

  1. (Where’s the “Report”?)

    Does “Confounding Factor” mean “Blame the Victim”?

    [Excerpt from notes, page 10]
    The Process of Research
    Confounding Bias
    In Confounding bias, there is an association between the exposure (such as treatment), and some other factor (the confounder) that actually leads to the outcome. Despite the apparent direct relationship between the exposure and the outcome, the latter is actually due to the confounding factor.

    • Does “Confounding Factor” mean “Blame the Victim”?

      No. Not typically. People who do good research try everything they can to knock down their own research. They try to show that they have done everything the can to falsify their own findings and conclusions.

      Generally, when people look for confounding factors and negative indications they are doing everything they can to explore the possibility that they are “fooling themselves”.

      In other words — typically it means that they are good researchers.

      People who do peer review and follow on studies in an attempt to duplicate the results will also be looking at these issues.

      I have not looked at the link. Now I will.

      • After looking at the report I think they tried to do their job correctly.

        Once could argue that they could have made a more comprehensive study — but, on the other hand, there are four fingers and a thumb.

        You’re simply not used to reading science babble and techie babble. Relax, have a cup of tea.

      • Victims of wind turbines know when they’re being abused. This may come as a shock; we can tell when our physiology is “responding”.
        It can be “disturbing,” “discomforting,” “distressing” and downright “painful.”
        We’ve experimented enough with “case crossovers” to know there are “confounding factors.”
        We don’t need Dr. Lynn’s “research” to tell us this.

        The question is whether Dr. Lynn’s notes satisfy her responsibilities as a public health official. This is a PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS!

        Let us reflect on Dr. Lynn’s efforts in the context of
        her job description:

        Health Protection and Promotion Act:
        Complaint re health hazard related to occupational or environmental health
        11. (1) Where a complaint is made to a board of health or a medical officer of health that a health hazard related to occupational or environmental health exists in the health unit served by the board of health or the medical officer of health, the medical officer of health shall notify the ministry of the Government of Ontario that has primary responsibility in the matter and, in consultation with the ministry, the medical officer of health shall investigate the complaint to determine whether the health hazard exists or does not exist. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7, s. 11 (1).

        Sept 10, 2012
        Doris Dumais
        Director, MOE Environmental Approvals Access and Service Integration Branch
        cc: Chris Bentley, Deb Matthews, Arlene King
        “I would suggest that health related matters be addressed to the Local Medical Officer of Health.”

        So, Hazel, what are you going to do for me today?

    • A really good article in which confounding factors come up and how they can be used to advance a cause… (and destroy your own credibility through misuse)

      Kinda like CO2 is increasing so we need more windmills sorta junk science.

      The Sky is Falling!

      IOW — if you think there could be confounding factors — but you have not looked — say so — but don’t let your imagination run wild.

  2. Folk get ‘distressed’ when their favourite sports team lose too……….
    After much expectation this report appears to bend over backwards to minimize the causal’effects that both authors have actually apparently experienced and researched for themselves!
    The wind energy companies must be laughing all the way to the bank!
    Designate people getting sick and losing their homes as no more than ‘distress’, almost as an isolated incident, then all our concerns are neatly wrapped up as acceptable collateral damage.
    Excuse me, whilst I search through my trash basket to find that ad for shares in the wind energy industry………………. 🙁 🙁 🙁
    Andrew Watts

    • Oh for heaven sakes. That’s not what it says at all.

      To a researcher it says in no uncertain terms that:

      a) There appears to be a causal link between IWT noise and health.
      b) It warrants a good hard look;
      c) That not all factors were studied adequately;
      d) That the study results should be more widely available when a paper is published (inferred);
      e) That alternate design wind turbines should be considered if we must use them;
      f) That some studies were able to establish an intensity(dose) discomfort relationship;
      g) That no study was able to support the “no problem” proposition;
      h) In a nice way it states that some studies could be a whole lot better;
      i) That some studies only showed weak evidence but still warranted a better look; and finally;
      h) That a criteria be established for measurement of annoyance/problem/damage as suggested — whether it is right or wrong is a matter of debate.

      Others of course may have other opinions.

      If you think I am wrong send it to Dr. Lynn and ask if I am “close enough” that we would agree on the most relevant points.

      • WillR Hi! I thought I did this earlier but for some reason my comment never made it?
        That comment is now unrecoverable history, I’ve cooled down, so this a watered down response! 🙂
        I’m a retiree with little engineering background and obviously not bright enough to be a ‘researcher’ because they appear to have a grip on how our universe works and that ‘serious’ research takes time?
        Quite frankly that does not impress me in the slightest.
        We have yet one more report using wonderfully politically correct ‘research’ language that says pretty much nothing new! It was completed by public servants, generously compensated to allow for a lifestyle fewer and fewer of those living in rural Ontario and being directly impacted by wind energy projects can ever dream of affording!
        I don’t want platitudes WillR, in the hope those of you in the rarified atmosphere of research and academia might actually help stop this insanity sometime in the future!
        I just want someone to stand up, on my tax dollar, and report straight out that the Industrial Wind Energy Industry worldwide has failed and continues do do so.
        I want someone to stand up and state that even with the heady atmosphere of the ‘saving the planet’ years it is now turned into nothing more than a huge tax scam.
        I want someone to stand up and state it continues to harm more and more families and wild life.
        I want someone to stand up and say many are losing the value of their biggest and in some cases their only lifetime investment, their homes.
        I want someone to stand up and admit there have been many homes actually abandoned.
        I really do object to the fact that in government(and apparently in the rarified world of ‘research’) ‘policies and procedures’ are now seen as far more than important than humanity.
        You are more than welcome to forward this to both Drs Lynne and Arra if you wish.
        I’m tired WillR! Tired and fed up as being seen as nothing more than an object in a larger research ‘problem’!
        Now if as a researcher, you can change my mind by giving me a single proven and credible argument to show that wind energy has benefited humankind in any way since this most recent insanity began around 30 years ago in Denmark I just might go away and return to my peasant hut and accept the fact my hut will soon be worth nothing because it is for the ‘greater good’ and that the private for profit wind energy industry deserve to take my tax dollars.
        As you can see, I’m apt to get carried away! 🙂
        I’m just fed up with ‘expert’s’ justifying their existence by merely perpetuating the debate.
        I want at least some folk in politics, and the public sector, brave enough to stand up and admit they made a huge mistake when they embraced the Green Energy Act and to take actions to reverse the harm they are now knowingly inflicting on their own citizens.
        Apparently lemmings periodically choose to jump off a cliff in enormous numbers in some sort of mass suicide? Ontario’s public health organisation would probably choose to attempt to interview the lemmings just before they jumped, to see if they could find out why they did such a crazy thing(in human terms that is!).
        If they couldn’t they would likely push for legislation to build fences at the top of the cliff.
        We are not lemmings and as far as I know no one in government has actually asked us why we don’t want to be harmed by IWTs?
        They just put up that fence and let more and more of us get stuffed behind it and forgotten whilst they all continue their serious debate, pro and con, and collect their salaries………….
        And in the meantime the wind energy companies continue to laugh all the way to the bank.
        Andrew Watts

      • Andrew:

        Have you ever clicked on my name. There is a link there you know….

        I typically deal with the economic side and as well have been writing and calling politicians and quietly talking with some councils — where I can exert some personal influence — to look at the economic data and realize that they are contributing to peoples health problems while incurring economic loss.

        It has worked well. People joined that may not have joined without that personal appeal.

        I do what I can — like many others — without money and obviously with little understanding or thanks. Frankly I do not give a rats A$$ — as long as the world unfolds as it should. I do what I can I do not want recognition, money or any other reward, or recompense of any nature. Having those infernal money wasting machines leveled to the ground would suit me fine.

        You do your bit — I’ll do mine.

        Now– quite bugging and ragging on people like Dr, Lynn who does what she can as far as she can without being kicked out on her butt.

        Instead of that rant send her a nice thank you letter for doing what she can.

        Otherwise leave her in peace.

        Thank you and say good night Andrew!

      • Andrew, all the things you “want” are reasonable, common sense requests.
        We all want them too!

        But, we can’t expect Hazel Lynn to deal with your laundry list … it’s not her place.

        Unfortunately, that job rests with the useless government that “we” elected.
        Now, we need a clean slate of different politicians with different agendas.

        An election, the sooner the better, is our best, maybe only hope.

        BTW, keep up the good work down in Wainfleet (no platitudes intended!).

      • Oh yeah…

        I’m a retiree with little engineering background and obviously not bright enough to be a ‘researcher’ because they appear to have a grip on how our universe works and that ‘serious’ research takes time?

        Quite frankly that does not impress me in the slightest.

        I just checked with myself — even I don’t impress me — apparently.. My wife says the same thing… not impressed she says….

        Now if I actually cared a flying fuddle duddle — about anything — you do realize that I would be a broken man.

        Now I must go to bed as my grip on reality and the workings of the universe has simply collapsed.

        Now calm down and have a cuppa tea or a Valium… rotflmao!

      • (… or you could go to your local “friendly” doctor and they will prescribe you Oxycontin for your ills.)

    • Bet you won’t see anything published about this UK deaths situation in the GTA MSM. Everything is cover up for the harm caused by IWTs.

    • Nothing new: The new normal:
      ‘[excerpt] “We keep hearing stories about members imprisoned in one room because that is all they can afford to heat and some have so little cash they have to choose between eating and heating. This is totally wrong.”

      The Local Government Association last night urged people to look out for elderly neighbours and relatives.’

      This is sickening.
      Of course – seniors are not shivering in Ontario.

  3. I sat through that presentation and was impressed by the quality of the work by Dr. Arra
    It also showed that not a lick of this will matter.
    The report ,as tabled, has to go through peer review and not be considered credible for another 6 months to a year.
    The levels of peer reviewed work at present that has formed the policy of the Liberal gov’t vis-a-vis wind turbines is at a low unacceptable level. Dr Arra stated as much. Dr. Lynn stated that to have studies that go beyond these existing ones would take approx 5 years to be completed and reviewed and only then could they be considered more credible than those used now by the gov’t.
    We don’t have that kind of time.
    The only thing we have is the ability to try and force an election and get a favourable gov’t in place that will at a minimum give municipalities back their power.
    The green energy act machinery behind the governing liberals is too entrenched for Wynne or any other politician to even tinker with. Only a change will do and in Toronto, the gas plant fiasco seems to have traction and be the tipping point. Continued pressure will get us the election we need and we have to muster up all available forces here to ensure the liberals never see the reigns of power again. Our future is riding on this.

    • Perhaps you see a bright future for yourself, but victims of wind turbines are still a little “uncertain.”
      1. for all the reasons you stated, a “health study” does not really begin to address the problems. We need investigation, and prosecution of the offenders.
      2. municipalities do not have the resources to police wind turbines.

      • Fine — you sue them. Let us know how it works out.

        Start by telling us what law they have broken when the malicious GEA gives the twerps all the authority they need to make you miserable and sick.

      • If wind turbines are being built
        — in your backyard!

        Try to SELL your house NOW!

        People can’t afford to delay!
        Do NOT waste time suing people!

        DO NOT wait to find out whether it’s going to be a problem…
        IT WILL BE!

        Do not expose your family to the threats of wind turbines.

        If you CHOOSE to live by wind turbines
        you do so at your own RISK!

    • Dr. Lynn is right about it being 5 years to complete and review these studies. This is just the nature of this situation.
      For example, if you were dealing with a human pathogen here then scientific cause and effect could be determined in a very much shorter time. Other health problem causes can and do take longer which is unfortunate for rural Ontarians as there is so little time to deal with this. Rural Ontarians can’t afford to wait any longer.

  4. What’s wrong with this Health Unit? Don’t they have a brain amongst them that’s capable of realizing there’s a problem with these IWT’s? If all they can do is search through other peoples’ treatments of the subject, then what original thinking are they doing to earn their salaries? It’s like ‘the emperor is wearing no clothes’, but this bunch has to search through ‘reports’ to see if anyone else has documented that obvious fact! DUUGGHH !!!

    • This one rates a double “Oh for Heaven’s sake”…

      It’s a survey paper — just one that was done to show that there is some research that shows that there is a problem — nothing more — nothing less. The have no research budget for this type of work. Mainly because it’s expensive and time consuming — but also because you need some engineering, acoustic and medical research people pulled together to do the work.

      The SAME sort of research done by CANWEA finds only papers that confirm that there is no problem.

      She did what she could with the budget and time allowed.

      If you have ever run a research department (I have) then you would recognize that there was a problem to be dealt with after reading the paper — assuming you had heard nothing before. A small health department like hers deserves some real thanks for putting this together.

      I realize you don’t “get it” — but tough. It does what it needs to do.

      It seems to be a simple statement but it puts here career on the line. She is going up against the entire provincial government on this one. Do you get that? It could cost here her job, her pension and her reputation if they decide to “teach her a lesson”. And that lesson was delivered to me once. It hurt then, and it still huts. I respect what she has done.

    • They were not enpowered to conduct scientific tests or examinations of people suffering from IWT health issues.
      Howerver, their review of the scientific literature on this subject did reveal that there is probable cause here that IWTs cause health problems.
      The actual scientific tests on people living near IWTs will take some 5 years to complete and the results to be reviewed.
      The problem is that rural Ontarians can’t wait this length of time as they are already suffering.
      Next best thing is to stop the installation of the turbines. Quit waiting for someone else to do something about this situation.

    • OH yeah. Forgot to mention. Poney up a $1M budget per year and I will get a team together right quick. Should not take us more than a year or two or three to nail it down definitively.

      And we can expect the province to do everything in their power to oppose us and pull every dirty trick you can think of — just to waste time and money. So maybe add a 50% contingency.

      R&D ain’t cheap — spent enough on it to tell you that much.

      • You are right on target with the costs and time it takes to do this research. And the IWT developers know this. Time and money is on their side

  5. WillR has a point … that Hazel Lynn is doing the best she can do within the grasp of her mandate.

    Some people here seem to think that Lynn needs to be literally out in the fields ripping these damn turbines out of the ground with her bare hands …

    As I mentioned previously: as far as I know, Lynn is the ONLY medical officer of health who has said ANYTHING negative against IWTs. Where are all the other cowards?

    I too believe she is risking her career and that the long knives at Queen’s Park may soon be unsheathed. “You don’t know what you’ve got until you lose it” (Ral Donner)

  6. Dr. Lynn and Dr. Arra are doing what they can within their mandate. Give them a break!
    Thank you doctors for sticking your neck out. I for one appreciate it immensely.
    Keep up the good work.

  7. Dear Hazel and Ian,

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all that you’ve done to try and protect the people in your communities. And especially on behalf of all the children.

    You have my support and that of many others whenever you take reasonable actions to defend the public interest.

    If you find yourself under fire, take solace knowing the loss is tiny in comparison to those who are being victimized by wind turbines and other causes.

    • Indeed. People are worrying about Lynns job, reputation and pension.
      What about the people whos’e lives have been so effed up they have NOTHING left. NOTHING! Health, home, finances….GONE

      Will somebody please take a GENUINE stand and shut these things OFF!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *