OTTAWA – Health Canada, in collaboration with Statistics Canada, will conduct a research study that will explore the relationship between wind turbine noise and health effects reported by, and objectively measured in, people living near wind power developments.
“This study is in response to questions from residents living near wind farms about possible health effects of low frequency noise generated by wind turbines,” said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. “As always, our Government is putting the health and safety of Canadians first and this study will do just that by painting a more complete picture of the potential health impacts of wind turbine noise.”
Health Canada is aware of health-related complaints from individuals living in close proximity to wind turbine establishments. The study is being designed with support from external experts, specializing in areas including noise, health assessment, clinical medicine and epidemiology.
The proposed research design and methodology was posted on Health Canada’s web site today for a 30-day public comment period. Feedback obtained will be reviewed by the design committee, compiled and published to the website, along with the design committee’s responses.
The study will be focused on an initially targeted sample size of 2,000 dwellings selected from 8-12 wind turbine installation facilities in Canada. In addition to taking physical measurements from participants, such as blood pressure, investigators will conduct face-to-face interviews and take noise measurements inside and outside of some homes to validate sound modelling.
Health Canada has expertise in measuring noise and assessing the health impacts of noise because of its role in administering the Radiation Emitting Devices Act (REDA). As defined under REDA, noise is a form of radiation.
The study results are expected to be published in 2014.
Notice to Stakeholders – Health Canada Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study
Health Canada is working with Statistics Canada and other external experts possessing expertise in areas including noise, health assessment, clinical medicine and epidemiology, to design a research study that will explore the relationship between wind turbine noise and the extent of health effects reported by, and objectively measured in, those living near wind power developments. The design methodology will be peer-reviewed by the World Health Organization as well as multidisciplinary experts in conference settings.
The research design for this Health Canada study is being posted for a 30-day comment period to allow public review and input. Feedback obtained through the consultation, as well as the responses provided by Health Canada officials, will be compiled and posted on the Department’s website in alignment with transparent business practices.
This study will contribute to an area of ongoing global research. Currently, there is insufficient evidence to conclude whether or not there is a relationship between exposure to the noise from wind turbines and adverse human health effects, although community annoyance and other concerns have been reported to Health Canada and in the scientific literature.
Health Canada’s approach will support decision makers by strengthening the evidence base of peer-reviewed scientific research that ultimately supports decisions, advice and policies regarding wind power development proposals, installations and operations in Canada.
Specific details related to the study locations, timing and survey components will be made available on the Health Canada website upon completion of the research in order to protect the integrity of the study. Premature disclosure may lead to bias in the research setting. All findings, as well as details of the methodology, will be released and published on the Health Canada website upon completion of the study. Results will also be published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
Further information, including the names of members of the research design committee overseeing the study, can be found below under Additional Information.
Health Canada looks forward to providing additional details as they become available.
The draft methodology is open for comment starting July 10, 2012 until August 08, 2012.
UPDATE – July 18, 2012: In recognition of the potential difficulty over the summer holiday period of certain interested Canadians in providing input before August 8, 2012, submissions will be accepted until September 7, 2012.
Please provide your comments on Health Canada’s Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study Design by email or fax to:
David S. Michaud, PhD
Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau
Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch
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