Ottawa tweaks methods for study on health effects from wind developments

Chatham Kent Ontario Enbridge wind from Kenesserie Road2CTV News
OTTAWA — Health Canada says it has tweaked its methods for a study on the possible link between wind farms and the adverse health effects reported by those living near them. Ottawa announced last summer it would conduct the study, a decision that was lauded by opponents of the towering turbines.

The department says revisions to the plan were informed by more than 950 comments submitted by residents during a public consultation. It says changes were made to the assessment of infrasound and a questionnaire to be administered by Statistics Canada. Turbine opponents contend that exposure to low-frequency noise and vibrations from wind turbines — in particular, inaudible infrasound — can lead to sleep disorders, headaches, depression, anxiety and even blood pressure changes.

The $1.8-million study will initially focus on residents in 2,000 dwellings near eight to 12 wind-turbine installations. There are about 140 such land-based wind farms in Canada, most of them in Ontario and Quebec. The study is being conducted by a team of more than 25 experts in acoustics, health assessment and medicine, including four international advisers. Results are expected in late 2014.

7 thoughts on “Ottawa tweaks methods for study on health effects from wind developments

  1. WARNING:

    Many of us believe it is unethical for Health Canada to be conducting research on citizens who have not consented to be exposed to these known health risks.

    By participating in this research, you could be providing information that will be distorted and used against you.

    Health Canada and the federal government are not neutral parties, they are biased.

    Principal Investigator David Michaud has advocated for exposure limits of 45 dba (which is higher than Ontario regulations permit) even though he admits the science supporting this position is lacking. David Michaud will not retract this opinion.

    Also, NRCan is subsidizing offending wind turbine projects through the ecoENERGY program.

    You should seek independent legal advice before deciding whether to participate in this research or not.

  2. My biggest FEAR – they use the turbine in a heavy populated area (toronto) which hardly ever operates, is not a comparible size, does not have the same factors of open landscape & it will deminish the #’s of every person who is actually suffering. The government – will gain the answer they want, not necessarily the true scientific answer.

  3. I share your concerns Jackie as well as S&Ds. I wonder who these 4 so called experts are from the EU? There’s no doubt they’re pro wind though, as they wouldn’t be considered experts by the Feds if they were anti wind.
    The more we hear about this study, the more bogus / bias it sounds. I don’t think it’s the saviour we are needing & hoping for anyway
    Our best hope remains speaking up & out coupled with doing our very best to elect a strong Conservative Majority Provincial government. ASAP!!!

  4. Depending on one level of government to clean up a mess totally created by another level, is not realistic in my opinion. What is needed is for voters to kick Liberals and their NDP accomplices to the curb ASAP.

  5. As far as this studies outcome is concerned, it’s already been predetermined. It must be “inconclusive”. No other result would suffice. If it were to show IWT were definitely affecting people’s health it would open the door to a floodgate of liability. Particularly for themselves, the Federal and Provincial Governments, for permitting these companies to erect IWTs too close to people’s homes without doing any prior homework. Now, can’t be having any of that. So, best to set up the study so its results would be skewed towards that “inconclusive” outcome right from the get go. No since in them getting any religion at this stage of the process.

    As mentioned here by others, anyone who wants to be a participant or guinea-pig in this study, best get some legal advice first. If it were me, I’d take a pass, but that just me being cynical as usual.

    Keep your stick on your sign

    • Predetermined? Such a lonmg word for such a transparent “device”…

      People Might find this link interesting — see the table at the end…

      http://www.globalskm.com/Insights/Achieve-Magazine/Issue1-2011/article8.aspx
      Deciding where to build power stations or wind turbines depends on a number of criteria; one being proximity to homes and businesses.

      Those who live or work between 500 metres to two kilometres from power stations or wind turbines could experience some challenging physical symptoms including headaches, nausea, anxiety and dizziness if they are exposed to very high levels of low frequency noise (LFN), that is, frequencies below 100 Hz.

      Of course these noise sources are not usually located in built-up residential areas so they generally only potentially affect industrial areas, some housing estates and isolated farm houses.

      Historically, the problem for regulatory authorities has been to determine the correct levels of LFN that would not result in annoyance or other symptoms. Accurate assessment is crucial both for gaining approvals for appropriate siting of a facility and dealing with complaints.

      Recently an innovative approach was devised that simplifies assessment and gauges potential impact more accurately. This allows authorities to make better judgements during the planning stages of new developments as well as making assessment of the validity of complaints easier.

      See the table at the end of the document…

      Dr. Norm Broner is a Practice Leader in Noise, Acoustics and Vibration at Sinclair Knight Merz, a company based in Australia. He has over 35 years of experience working in the field of acoustics, noise and vibration and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in the area of infrasound and low frequency noise, its effects and assessment. Dr. Broner wrote the Chapter on “Effects of Infrasound, Low Frequency Noise and Ultrasound on People” in the “Handbook of Noise and Vibration Control” published in 2007. He was the Guest Editor for a special edition of Acoustics Australia dealing with wind farm noise. Dr. Broner has been a major contributor to numerous noise impact assessments involving power stations and wind turbine farms. Education: PhD (Psychoacoustics), University of London. Professional Affiliations/Appointments include Australian National Health Medical Research Council Wind Farm & Human Health Reference Group; Fellow, Institution of Engineers Australia; Member of Institute of Acoustics London; Member of Institution of Noise Control Engineers USA; Vice President of Australian Acoustical Society; Member of Acoustical Society of America; Member of Audio Engineering Society

      Ok, 60dB huh?

  6. Dear Stakeholder,

    Thank you for your comments related to the research design of the Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study. Comments received have been compiled thematically and were reviewed by the Expert Committee. They can now be viewed with responses, in alignment with transparent business practices, at the following URL:
    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/consult/_2013/wind_turbine-eoliennes/index-eng.php
    . Also available at this site is the revised research design, and an updated listing and short biographies of the Expert Committee membership. All comments received will be made available to interested stakeholders following completion of redaction of personal information and identifiers subject to Canadian privacy legislation.
    (There was some confusion about the link not working. The one here works for me)

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