Health Canada wind turbine study released

health_canada_logo_01Health Canada Wind Turbine Study 2014

TORONTO – A Health Canada study has found no evidence to support a link between exposure to wind-turbine noise and health effects reported by people living near the towering structures.

The Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study, conducted over a four-month period in 2013, involved more than 1,200 residents in southwestern Ontario and P.E.I., whose homes were located at various distances from almost 400 of the electricity-generating structures in 18 wind-turbine developments.

The use of turbines to generate electricity by harnessing the wind — whether clustered on land in so-called farms or anchored offshore in lake or ocean floors — is controversial, and reaction to release of the study findings Thursday reflected long-established divergent opinions.

The study found no link between wind-turbine noise and respondents’ reports of sleep disturbances, dizziness, tinnitus, migraines or chronic headaches, increased blood pressure or ongoing health conditions such as heart disease, chronic pain or diabetes. Read article

44 thoughts on “Health Canada wind turbine study released

    • The federal government got more than non-interference in provincial affairs!

      Backs up Environment Canada radar change, MT at C-K airport affair, NAV Canada and now Health Canada.

      Look at the recent federal negotiations to ok transmission lines to the U.S. Min. Federal Natural Resources involved.

      IWTs no harm so IWTs are a go in Canada!

      • Let’s make a deal. IWTs in exchange for oil pipelines?

  1. Compare federal government “expectations” (ie – contract terms) with provincial government admissions:

    “NRCan noted in its letter of April 8, 2005 […] that it is expected that all residences, regardless of whether a property intends to host a wind turbine, will not be at risk of significant environmental impacts with respect to operational noise.”
    – May 14, 2005 NRCan, Mr. Curtis Lockett, Wind Power Production Incentive to AIM PowerGen, Mr. Mike Crawley, Erie Shores Wind Farm


    “The audible sound from wind turbines is nonetheless expected to result in a non-trivial percentage of persons being highly annoyed. As with sounds from many sources, research has shown that annoyance associated with sound from wind turbines can be expected to contribute to stress related health impacts in some persons.”
    – “Low Frequency Noise and Infrasound Associated with Wind Turbine Generator Systems: A Literature Review”, Howe Gastmeier Chapnik Limited (HGC Engineering), Ontario Ministry of the Environment RFP No. OSS-07869, December 10, 2010

  2. This section is going un-reported. We need to get this message out: (from the report Summary)

    5.2 Community Annoyance Findings

    Statistically significant exposure-response relationships were found between increasing WTN levels and the prevalence of reporting high annoyance. These associations were found with annoyance due to noise, vibrations, blinking lights, shadow and visual impacts from wind turbines. In all cases, annoyance increased with increasing exposure to WTN levels.

    The following additional findings in relation to WTN annoyance were obtained:

    At the highest WTN levels (≥ 40 dBA in both provinces), the following percentages of respondents were highly annoyed by wind turbine noise: ON-16.5%; PEI-6.3%. While overall a similar pattern of response was observed, the prevalence of WTN annoyance was 3.29 times higher in ON versus PEI (95% confidence interval, 1.47 – 8.68).
    A statistically significant increase in annoyance was found when WTN levels exceeded 35 dBA.
    Reported WTN annoyance was statistically higher in the summer, outdoors and during evening and night time.
    Community annoyance was observed to drop at distances between 1-2km in ON, compared to PEI where almost all of the participants who were highly annoyed by WTN lived within 550m of a wind turbine. Investigating the reasons for provincial differences is outside the scope of the current study.
    WTN annoyance significantly dropped in areas where calculated nighttime background noise exceeded WTN by 10dB or more.
    Annoyance was significantly lower among the 110 participants who received personal benefit, which could include rent, payments or other indirect benefits of having wind turbines in the area e.g., community improvements. However, there were other factors that were found to be more strongly associated with annoyance, such as the visual appearance, concern for physical safety due to the presence of wind turbines and reporting to be sensitive to noise in general.

    The last paragraph says it all, 110 participants received personal benefit and their annoyance was significantly lower!

    The government’s new buzz word “Annoyance”

    • It’s more than likely that any participant who received any personal benefits from IWTs is under a gag order which also includes any negative information supplied for government studies.

      • Did any of the participants in this Health Canada study keep copies of the questions they were asked?

        And would any of them care to share this information?

  3. This study will be subjected to the peer review process. It will be very interesting to see both professional and clinical comments on the details in the next few months.

  4. The danger from the start was that the 2 organizations involved would produce a wishy washy report, still this goes far beyond that. Wynne and her Wind cronies could not have dreamed of a better report had they composed it themselves. Just look at the headlines in national media and headlines are all most readers remember. A significant number of residents adjacent to turbines report being sick, but the cause is not the turbines themselves. Many others are annoyed, but a simple perusal of local press could have told us that.

    We are destined to hear these headlines repeated ad nauseam for months to come by Wind proponents; they will replace reference to the King study, which wasn’t a real study at all. This one has the advantage of being published by respected agencies outside the Ont government, and therefor “objective”.

    I can see no benefit whatever in this study. Yesterday other hot items kept this story off the 2 national supper time news programs, but the study will continue to be a background irritant for years.

    • You can look forward to some members of the study team losing their professional licenses because of ethics and criminal offenses.

  5. I think we need to look at the details if we are allowed to. I have trouble seeing how a person can be disturbed by flicker at 550 m . Like why can’t they close the curtains?
    To me the annoyance is more likely to come from low level sound.
    I think most of us are not bothered by low level sound but a small percentage of the people are. We have to give these people some credence. Its like telling a person who is allergic to peanut butter that it is all in his head.
    If we are going to recognize the reality that some people are bothered by the low level noise, then we have to do something about it. “Quiet Nights” seems like a very practical solution. It may only be 10% of the turbines. The energy is not needed anyway. Why don’t we just turn a few of the turbines off at night?

    • Because that doesn’t stop the infrasound/vibration Mike.
      We’re talking multiple turbines running in the background even if you do shut a few down.
      Plus the electrical system is a mess and many homes now have electrical pollution which is not being corrected. They leave the electrical systems running even if the blades are stopped.
      You see, health canada/Stats canada could have learned an awful lot if they had spoken with people who have been through it, and the reserachers but they didn’t want to….actually refused plenty of offers from plenty of credible people.
      This was intended and is not a legitimate study whatsoever.

  6. There is some good news in the report (but nothing that we didn’t have before) that needs to be stressed….

    From the new Health Canada report, “Annoyance ….was associated with increasing wind turbine noise”

    From other Health Canada articles (bulletin on community noise),”the most common effect of community noise is annoyance, which is considered an adverse health affect by WHO”.

    … so it seems they did find health effects.
    futhermore from the Health Canada report, “the findings support a potential link between long term annoyance and health”

  7. “Annoyance” now replaces “stress.” It is widely understood and accepted that stress underlies all illness, so the spinmeisters have simply eliminated the word. Post traumatic annoyance” is so watered down as to be meaningless. As governments sacrifice soldiers in war – then fail the traumatized survivors – now it is citizens who are “collateral damage” in the fight for the largest profits in the Green Energy/renewable infrastrusture scam. Birds, animals, plants and humans: all are expendable. Even endangered species matter not.

    I could never, ever have imagined that this would occur in my lifetime. Most veterans I know would not have sacrificed anything, let alone their lives, for this.

  8. I would be very careful on commenting on this report. There is virtually no data available to support (or refute) any conclusions published.

    The actual data appears to be pay-walled and only available to university based researchers. I, for example, would have to pay for time limited access to the data. The data is in unspecified form — so even if I did pay it may be useless to me and my analysis tools.

    As has been pointed out — there are “talking points” being circulated that appear to differ from material in the “study”

    I have skimmed all the material available and have not had time to find all the data published — but there does not seem to be anything significant that backs up much of anything.

    While I hate to call it Junk Science — until I see enough data to justify their “talking points” — that assessment is the way I’m leaning. If the people who worked on this study see this comment and are offended — sorry — but I can only comment on what I see — and that’s not much so far.

    For example — measuring infrasound and sound pressure in the house and comparing to external data was “too difficult”. Sure…

    It appears that mostly the A-Weighted dB scale was used — the C-Scale “sometimes”.

    Little if any infrasound assessment — especially inside houses.

    Perhaps Dr. Richard Mann and other researchers can access the data and do some analysis.

    Maybe I’ll get some data access in the future — but I’m not counting on. It seems that only “the right people” get to see and analyze the data.

      • In a sense the damage has already been done, the text released is referred to by HC as a summary. It may be possible to critique parts of the analysis when data becomes available, but this will be enormously difficult to do. This is unlike the A. King review where she talked to none of the victims, this was done by Health Canada and Statistics Canada, usually respected research agencies. Further, many in the wind resistance community asked for just such a study, it will be portrayed as sour grapes when the same people claim it is biased, People here may agree, but it is the general public who needs to be convinced.

        I am afraid that in the battle for public perception of health risks posed by IWTs the big winners yesterday were wind developers and their McGuinty-Wynne supporters.

      • Well Martin, both citizens and health professionals have been asking for an independent study from day one. NOT a study by the government who is giving money to and supporting the industry. Blatant bias matters and is NOT sour grapes. Policy is interfering in health protection.
        The study is incredibly flawed by any standard protocol, health professionals know it and they know it.

    • Again, your attention to the CMOH Report, May, 2010, “King Report”

      Appendix 1, Citations for this report: List of Documents on Wind Turbines
      Journal Articles and Books

      E. Pedersen is lead author for 6 of the 11 articles cited.
      Also F. van den Berg + R. Bakker are also used.

      WHO/World Health Organization

      Then you see “gray” literature list which is not much relied on.

      This list of citations with 6 out of 11 by same lead author should have raised questions to begin with and the other two authors along with them.

      Watch the bibliography of this just released Health Canada Study along with any data presented.

  9. EWEA/ European Wind Energy Association

    Some background information on Health Canada study

    Workshop, Dec.11, 2012, Oxford, UK

    Session two: Wind Farm Design-Being a good neighbour.

    Tom Levy, CanWEA
    David S. Michaud, Health Canada

    Outlines what the Health Canada study will include.

    Health Canada Study Research Team includes:
    Werner Richarz,, Phd., PEng.

    Werner Richarz testified at the Ostrander Point ERT, June 6, 2013, at which time he expressed his opinions on IWT “noise”.

    Continued as member of Health Study Canada Research Team.

  10. This following message was sent to Michaud et al when they announced this study. And it was just one of many. There is no trust in any government or industry influenced studies. We’ve know this for years.

    In 2009, my husband and I had our lives turned upside down due to a wind project that started up around our home. We begged for help from every level of government and public agency, and not one would assist us.
    We suffered severe sleep deprivation (from audible and inaudible turbine noise), among other things, and eventually had to hire legal help to get out to save our health.

    During and since this time, I attended ministry-sponsored workshops, presented before and submitted comments to the standing committee and the EBR registry on the Green Energy Act, attended meetings at government level, submitted information to provincial and federal health officials, to the senate, to the Premier to the Prime Minister, and so on. We followed every formal complaint protocol and sent numerous messages, personally and via email, through our Member of Parliament and Member of Provincial Parliament.

    You can multiply the above comments by the actions of other families in this province who have done the same. The federal government had the power to intervene and did not.

    During our time through this and after we moved, with limited knowledge I researched and inquired as much as I could, trying to understand why so many people were being affected and why no one was helping them. Though a senior provincial ministry employee was claiming my husband and I were the only “complaint” in our project—and we hear the repetitive public message from provincial leaders that there were few if any problems in Ontario—we soon found out that not only had there been already hundreds of complaints, but many homes had been purchased [by the wind developers] and there were families in Huron County who, unable to live in their homes, were being housed in a motel by wind developer, Suncor–Acciona.

    It did not take long for other families to come forward and get connected, including those in Clear Creek and Kincardine, Goderich, and so on. The numbers became shocking and the harm irrefutable.

    It wasn’t just a case of an odd “unlucky receptor,” as we were called. We also learned of the proliferation of confidentiality agreements, gag clauses, non-disclosures—call them what you will—that are rampant in this industry, from the initial signing of an option to lease, to the final abandonment of a home.

    How can people speak when they are under legal constraints not to?

    How will you ever be able to grasp the scope of harm when people have been silenced?

    How will you know what families have left their homes because of the turbine project, who simply gave up because they received no help?

    How will you contact them?

    Since at least 2006, families of 1st generation wind projects have been pleading for help. Many, as I say, have had to leave their homes.

    How is it that Health Canada is only just now, in the summer of 2012, investigating what has been happening to citizens across the country for at least 6 years?

    If I am reading correctly, you are going to decide to whom you talk in order not to create a situation of bias. Let’s consider bias for a moment.

    You have been in the background for 6 years while multiple families reported serious degradation of their home environment and adverse health issues after the wind projects started operating. Some of them have had to permanently leave their home, some without any compensation whatsoever.

    You, as the federal level of government, repeatedly deferred issues back to the province as it was their policy, all the while knowing they were not assisting families or mitigating complaints.
    Your panel has 2 NRCan (Natural Resources Canada) representatives on it.

    » Antoine Lacroix, Eng., M.Sc., 
Wind Energy Engineer, Renewable Energy Technologies, Natural Resources Canada

    » Paul Dockrill, M.Sc., 
Acting Program Manager, Wind Energy Technology Group, Natural Resources Canada

    NRCan is a federal government body which, I discovered, has granted at least $250 million in repayable and non-repayable loans to prominent wind corporations, lobbyists and other proponents of wind, some of whom have actually used this money to buy-out aforementioned homes.

    How can all of this not be a case for bias?

    In fact, one NRCan employee made an anonymous derogatory comment in a public online site about my home’s property value. This was a home we loved and had invested much of our personal finances into.

    “Please let me know when the property comes up for sale. Since everyone claims that property values will decrease, I will expect a bargain basement price!”

    How can this not be a case for bias?

    How can this possibly be a sincere and genuine effort when you continue to let wind projects operate, knowing there are families who are suffering ill health and families who have had to abandon their homes?

    How can you continue without imposing a moratorium on new projects until the investigation is done?

    You have ignored information, overwhelming evidence and offers of help from the most peer-reviewed and published independent researcher in Canada. Why was Carmen Krogh not included on your panel?

    Would you agree overall that the health of Canadian citizens holds lower rank than the financial interests of prominent corporations, or is this simply a bias for the wind energy industry?
    Would you agree that policy triumphs over the health and welfare of Canadian families, or is this simply a bias toward the wind energy industry?

    Public trust in all levels of government has been severely eroded. We require and we deserve an independent review. A formal inquiry is necessary so everyone can be heard, not just those whom you choose to hear.

    To retain any sense of integrity, ethics and duty to “do no harm,” you must impose a moratorium and mitigate the existing problems, first. How can you not? Canadians deserve to live in a healthy environment in their own homes. That fundamental right has been taken away and has been pulverized.

    • I think you meant “study”, not “investigation”.
      I’m not aware of Health Canada conducting any IWT investigations.

    • Well put Ontariowoe, thank you. “Pulverized” is right. It’s time to call an eye for an eye. I hope this does not create an annoyance!!

  11. Ontariowoe:

    I was at a rally where a community association specifically asked for a study by Health Canada and the local MP (cabinet minister) helped facilitate that, at the time this was seen by many as a forward step. Outside government if is hard to see just who would fund an objective, independent study.
    It is very hard to critique the HC study, when many activists were calling for exactly that.
    This is precisely the argument that Wind proponents will be making.

    • Agreed, but other government ministries are involved with wind interests to grant them what they want and make IWT installations possible. These cover all of Canada with federal level IWT issues.

      Need the radar system changed? No problem. The federal government will give this to them at taxpayers’ expense.

    • Actually, Martin, it’s very easy to critique a [garbage] study; one has to be scientific about it.

      This is right out of the Summary Pamphlet Brochure:

      ‘[excerpt] Key Finding FINDINGS
      Annoyance and quality of life

      – An association was found between increasing levels of wind turbine noise and individuals reporting to be very or extremely annoyed.
      – No association was found with any significant changes in reported quality of life, or with overall quality of life and satisfaction with health. This was assessed using the abbreviated version of the World Health Organization’s Quality of Life Scale.’

      • 4,000 hours of noise testing but how was this done and by whom?

        Then again WHO Quality of Life Scale?

        There was no way of proving IWT health effects at ERTs to begin with. So nothing much as changed.

        Does anyone have a copy of the actual questions that were asked for this health study?

      • Very easy to critique to this audience, but not the general public who are the important body. They are the ones needding convincing.

    • Dr. Hazel Lynn, Ontario Medical Officer of Health
      has questions about Health Canada’s definitions.
      She questions
      “what they’re defining as annoyance”
      and points out there is
      “a problem with using that term because it doesn’t have a definition”

    • What’s “valid”?

      ‘[excerpt] Footnote #3: 434 were not valid dwellings; upon visiting the address Statistics Canada noted that the location was either demolished for unknown reasons, under construction, vacant for unknown reasons, an unoccupied seasonal dwelling, residents were outside the eligible age range, or not a home at all.’

      “vacant for unknown reasons”?
      “an unoccupied seasonal dwelling”?
      How were these determined?

    • Yes, and I can almost guess what group your talking about that either did and knew what they were doing or did not understand that the government was doing it to help delay the issue while more approvals were signed and to help facilitate wind energy proponents for good.
      That is why the warnings and red flags went up the minute they announced it. Not sour grapes. Warnings a long long time ago.
      You were hoodwinked by the feds Martin.

  12. It’s a study done by the government did anyone ever think it would say anything else!?

    We pegged that from the start, they’re not going to stop this ball rolling, they can’t touch the green elephant in the province!

    I personally didn’t give a crap about what it said. They did not lift gag orders and the lesers would NEVER compromise their $$$ and speak a word of truth.

    No big surprise. Anyone can buy an opinion and put it in writing…

  13. Is it just coincidental that this report gets released only days before the Drennan court case ?????????

    • Exactly my thoughts, they released this data before the expected date (Decemeber) to make court case.

      I hope Falconer brings up the following points:
      – Likelihood of harm is sufficient, we don’t need absolute certainty, the higher standard required of the tribunals.
      – Possibility of harm was already established at Chatham-Kent tribunal,
      – Gag orders invalidate this report.

  14. Mike, I can tell you recently a met tower from a wind farm lite up like a lighthouse becon every 2 seconds of insanely bright light in our area.

    Even though I have curtains on
    My large windows at night the light came through my door side windows and bounced off my hall to stobe all night every night. I am many side roads away from this thing!

    for decades we have been used to dark quiet nights. Why is it simply OK to
    be totally invasive? Light, sound or otherwise?

  15. I noticed that they only studied individuals that were not affected, i.e. those still living in the area, and not those that had been driven out. Perhaps a study of smokers that do not have lung cancer (yet) would indicate smoking poses no health risks.

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