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Resource Documents: Canada (31 items)

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Documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are provided to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate.


Date added:  August 13, 2018
Health, Noise, Ontario, Prince Edward IslandPrint storyE-mail story

Derivation and application of a composite annoyance reaction construct based on multiple wind turbine features

Author:  Michaud, David; et al.

Abstract —
Objectives: Noise emissions from wind turbines are one of multiple wind turbine features capable of generating annoyance that ranges in magnitude from not at all annoyed to extremely annoyed. No analysis to date can simultaneously reflect the change in all magnitudes of annoyance toward multiple wind turbine features. The primary objective in this study was to use principal component analysis (PCA) to provide a single construct for overall annoyance to wind turbines based on reactions to noise, blinking lights, shadow flicker, visual impacts, and vibrations evaluated as a function of proximity to wind turbines.
Methods: The analysis was based on data originally collected as part of Health Canada’s cross-sectional Community Noise & Health Study (CNHS). One adult participant (18–79 years), randomly selected from dwellings in Ontario (ON) (n = 1011) and Prince Edward Island (PEI) (n = 227), completed an in-person questionnaire. Content relevant to the current analysis included the annoyance responses to wind turbines.
Results: The first construct tested in the PCA explained 58–69% of the variability in total annoyance. Reduced distance to turbines was associated with elevated aggregate annoyance scores among ON and PEI participants. In the ON sample, aggregate annoyance was effectively absent in areas beyond 5 km (mean 0.12; 95% CI 0.00, 1.19), increasing significantly between 2 and 5 km (mean 2.13; 95% CI 0.92, 3.33), remaining elevated, but with no further increase until (0.550–1] km (mean 3.37; 95% CI 3.02, 3.72). At ≤ 0.550 km, the average overall annoyance was 3.36 (95% CI 2.03, 4.69). In PEI, aggregate annoyance was essentially absent beyond 1 km; i.e., (1–2] km (mean 0.21; 95%CI 0.00, 0.88); 2–5 km (mean 0.00; 95%CI 0.00, 1.37); > 5 km (mean 0.00; 95%CI 0.00, 1.58). Annoyance significantly increased in areas between (0.550 and 1] km (mean 1.59; 95%CI 1.02, 2.15) and was highest within 550 m (mean 4.25; 95% CI 3.34, 5.16).
Conclusion: The advantages and disadvantages to an aggregated annoyance analysis, including how it should not yet be considered a substitute for relationships based on changes in high annoyance, are discussed.

David S. Michaud & James McNamee, Non-Ionizing Radiation Health Sciences Division, Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Health Canada
Leonora Marro, Biostatistics Section, Population Studies Division, Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau, Health Canada

Canadian Journal of Public Health (2018) 109:242–251
doi: 10.17269/s41997-018-0040-y

Download original document: “Derivation and application of a composite annoyance reaction construct based on multiple wind turbine features

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Date added:  August 13, 2018
Health, Noise, Ontario, Prince Edward IslandPrint storyE-mail story

Association between self-reported and objective measures of health and aggregate annoyance scores toward wind turbine installations

Author:  Michaud, David; et al.

Abstract —
Objective: An aggregate annoyance construct has been developed to account for annoyance that ranges from not at all annoyed to extremely annoyed, toward multiple wind turbine features. The practical value associated with aggregate annoyance would be strengthened if it was related to health. The objective of the current paper was to assess the association between aggregate annoyance and multiple measures of health.
Methods: The analysis was based on data originally collected as part of Health Canada’s Community Noise and Health Study (CNHS). One adult participant per dwelling (18–79 years), randomly selected from Ontario (ON) (n = 1011) and Prince Edward Island (PEI) (n = 227), completed an in-person questionnaire.
Results: The average aggregate annoyance score for participants who indicated they had a health condition (e.g., chronic pain, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) > 5, tinnitus, migraines/headaches, dizziness, highly sensitive to noise, and reported a high sleep disturbance) ranged from 2.53 to 3.72; the mean score for those who did not report these same conditions ranged between 0.96 and 1.41. Household complaints about wind turbine noise had the highest average aggregate annoyance (8.02), compared to an average of 1.39 among those who did not complain.
Conclusion: A mean aggregate annoyance score that could reliably distinguish participants who self-report health effects (or noise complaints) from those who do not could be one of several factors considered by jurisdictions responsible for decisions regarding wind turbine developments. However, the threshold value for acceptable changes and/or levels in aggregate annoyance has not yet been established and could be the focus of future research efforts.

David S. Michaud & James McNamee, Non-Ionizing Radiation Health Sciences Division, Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Health Canada
Leonora Marro, Biostatistics Section, Population Studies Division, Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau, Health Canada

Canadian Journal of Public Health (2018) 109:252–260
doi: 10.17269/s41997-018-0041-x

Download original document: “The association between self-reported and objective measures of health and aggregate annoyance scores toward wind turbine installations

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Date added:  June 5, 2018
Health, Noise, Ontario, Prince Edward IslandPrint storyE-mail story

Using residential proximity to wind turbines as an alternative exposure measure to investigate the association between wind turbines and human health

Author:  Barry, Rebecca; Sulsky, Sandra; and Kreiger, Nancy

[Abstract] This analysis uses data from the Community Noise and Health Study developed by Statistics Canada to investigate the association between residential proximity to wind turbines and health-related outcomes in a dataset that also provides objective measures of wind turbine noise. The findings indicate that residential proximity to wind turbines is correlated with annoyance and health-related quality of life measures. These associations differ in some respects from associations with noise measurements. Results can be used to support discussions between communities and wind-turbine developers regarding potential health effects of wind turbines.

[Results] Results suggest that proximity to wind turbines is inversely associated with the environment domain quality of life score (β = 1.23, SE = 0.145, p = 0.046). This association suggests that every kilometre a person lives further away from a wind turbine is associated with a 1.23 point increase in score on the environmental health quality of life scale. A higher score is indicative of a higher environmental quality of life. … Distance to wind turbines was also found to be strongly associated with increased annoyance (OR = 0.19; 95% CI  = 0.07, 0.53, p = 0.001). This suggests that the odds of reporting being annoyed by a turbine are reduced by about 20% for every kilometer a person lives further away from a wind turbine. …

[Discussion] These results show that living closer in proximity to wind turbines is negatively correlated with self-rated environmental quality of life and physical health quality of life. These findings suggest that the mechanism of effect may not be noise, or not noise alone, and may include visual sight, vibrations, shadow flicker, sub-audible low frequency sound, or mechanisms that include individual subjective experiences and attitudes towards wind turbines. … Our findings strengthen the argument that wind turbines are associated with annoyance, as this association is now found with both modelled A-weighted sound pressure levels and with residential distance to wind turbines. Other research has found that individuals reporting annoyance due to environmental noise also report health conditions including ischemic heart disease, depression, and migraines.

Rebecca Barry and Nancy Kreiger, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Sandra I. Sulsky, Ramboll Environ US, Amherst, Massachusetts

J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 143 (6), June 2018, 3278–3282
doi: 10.1121/1.5039840

Download original document: “Using residential proximity to wind turbines as an alternative exposure measure to investigate the association between wind turbines and human health

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Date added:  February 21, 2018
Health, Noise, OntarioPrint storyE-mail story

There’s a Persistent Hum in This Canadian City, and No One Knows Why

Author:  Mele, Christopher

A persistent noise of unknown origin, sometimes compared to a truck idling or distant thunder, has bedeviled a Canadian city for years, damaging people’s health and quality of life, numerous residents say.

Those who hear it have compared it to a fleet of diesel engines idling next to your home or the pulsation of a subwoofer at a concert. Others report it rattling their windows and spooking their pets.

Known as the Windsor Hum, this sound in Windsor, Ontario, near Detroit, is unpredictable in its duration, timing and intensity, making it all the more maddening for those affected.

“You know how you hear of people who have gone out to secluded places to get away from certain sounds or noises and the like?” Sabrina Wiese posted in a private Facebook group dedicated to finding the source of the noise.

“I’ve wanted to do that many times in the past year or so because it has gotten so bad,” she wrote. “Imagine having to flee all you know and love just to have a chance to hear nothing humming in your head for hours on end.”

Since reports of it surfaced in 2011, the hum has been studied by the Canadian government, the University of Western Ontario and the University of Windsor.

Activists have done their own sleuthing.

Over six years, Mike Provost of Windsor, who helps run the Facebook page, has amassed more than 4,000 pages of daily observations about the duration, intensity and characteristics of the sound and the weather conditions at the time.

He has had to fend off skeptics and theorists who believe that the hum is related to secret tunneling, U.F.O.s or covert government operations, he said.

Mr. Provost, a retired insurance salesman, said his work was a blend of obsession and hobby. “I’ve got to keep going,” he said in a phone interview. “I’m not going to quit this.”

The hum is not limited to Windsor, a city of about 220,000 people on the Detroit River. Mr. Provost said he had received reports from McGregor, Ontario, 20 miles to the south, and from east of Cleveland, about 90 miles away.

Tracey Ramsey, a member of the Canadian House of Commons, said in a phone interview that she regularly gets calls from constituents about the health effects of the hum. Residents have complained of headaches, sleeplessness, irritability and depression, among other symptoms.

“It’s something they are desperate for an answer to,” she said.

Tracing the noise’s origins is complicated by who hears it, and when and where.

Tim Carpenter, a retired consulting engineer who specialized in geotechnical engineering and machine vibrations and is an administrator of the Facebook page, says not everyone can hear it.

“It’s as if you had a fire hose moving back and forth and the people who have the water falling on them hear the noise, and if you’re outside that stream, you don’t hear the noise,” he said.

Researchers have found no trends related to gender or age for the “hearers.”

Dr. Darius Kohan, the director of otology and neurotology at Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, said that the low-frequency hum was unlikely to cause long-term hearing damage but that it could be as debilitating as tinnitus, a persistent ringing in the ears.

Scott Barton, an assistant professor of music at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, said in a phone interview that infrasound, which is below 20 hertz, can create a sense of unease because it is unintelligible to human hearing but still detectable. While it is possible to be accustomed to certain noises (the hum of an air-conditioner, for example), this low-frequency noise is challenging because it has been so inconsistent, he said.

Seeking intervention by government regulators for the hum is difficult because regulations typically address decibel levels that can lead to hearing loss or damage, not those that can affect quality of life, Rebecca Smith, a sound engineer and doctoral student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who researches urban noise, wrote in an email.

“Think about the sound of a dog barking,” she said. “It doesn’t need to be loud enough to physically damage you to be really annoying and distracting.”

The University of Windsor report said the hum’s likely source was blast furnace operations on Zug Island on the Detroit River, which is densely packed with manufacturing. Activists complained that United States Steel, which operates the furnaces, has been uncooperative and secretive. A company spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.

A principal investigator on the study, Professor Colin Novak, told CBC News in 2014 that researchers needed more time and cooperation from the American authorities to pinpoint the source. “It’s like chasing a ghost,” he said.

Hums similar to Windsor’s have been reported in at least a dozen communities worldwide, including in Australia, England and Scotland, the study said. In the United States, high-profile hums have been reported in Taos, N.M., and Kokomo, Ind.

Researchers studied the Taos hum in 1993 but did not pinpoint a source. Karina Armijo, the town’s director of marketing and tourism, said in a telephone interview that complaints had subsided.

“I have never heard the Taos hum, but I’ve heard stories of the Taos hum,” she said. “There’s not been a lot of buzz about it in the last few years.”

A 2003 study in Kokomo by the acoustics and vibration consulting company Acentech prompted two industrial plants to install silencing equipment, providing relief to some residents but not all, a 2008 paper about the study said.

“In fact, one affected resident had become so disturbed that she moved more than 700 miles away to relieve her symptoms,” it said.

Mr. Carpenter said it was possible a major source of the Windsor hum could be eliminated and other mechanical sources would replace it, entering the “heard spectrum.”

“It’s possible that no matter what is done to relieve or attenuate the noise, it might never be enough,” he said.

—Christopher Meele, New York Times, Feb. 19, 2018

[NWW note:  This story is reproduced here because the complaints are the same that many neighbors of large wind turbines make, and here they – as well as the physiologic effects of infrasound and low-frequency noise and the intrusive nature of pulsing noise (amplitude modulation), even at relatively low levels – are taken seriously. It might also be noted that across Lake St. Clair from Windsor there are hundreds of large wind turbines.]

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