The announcement Tuesday that Health Canada will study the impact of wind turbine noise on human health has renewed calls for a moratorium on wind farm developments.
“The federal government recognizes that there is insufficient scientific evidence about the adverse health effects of industrial turbines,” said Neil Switzer, chair of the West Lincoln Glanbrook Wind Action Group. “We need a moratorium until the facts are sorted out.”
Health Canada will examine how low-frequency turbine sound affects nearby residents.
It aims to paint “a more complete picture of the potential health impacts of wind turbine noise,” federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said.
The announcement comes as multiple wind projects are planned for the Wainfleet and West Lincoln areas, including Niagara Region Wind Corp.’s 77-turbine farm. IPC Energy has two smaller farms planned, with five wind turbines in each.
All told, more than 6,000 turbines are proposed or planned for Ontario.
Niagara Regional Coun. and former NDP MPP Peter Kormos said the planned study, to be published by 2014, “confirms and reaffirms the call by those concerned with health impacts for a moratorium on wind farms.”
Last month, regional council voted against a proposed moratorium on wind turbines. The proposal would have seen wind farms banned until it’s proven they don’t threaten human health.
Across the province, word of the study prompted the Ontario Tories and the province’s anti-turbine coalition to demand provincial Liberals put wind projects on hold.
Turbines are a key element of the provincial government’s green energy policy to draw on renewable power sources beyond fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
IPC Energy president John Andrews said the more health studies, the better.
However, he added, that the federal government is doing the study makes him skeptical.
“They are doing this health study for what reason, I’m not sure,” he said, noting it would be more appropriate for the provincial government to examine the health impacts.
He’s interested to hear how the study will be done, the criteria and its methodology.
In a news release, Aglukkaq said, “Health Canada is aware of health-related complaints from individuals living in close proximity to wind turbine establishments.”
Study participants will be drawn from near a dozen turbine facilities in Canada. Research will include blood-pressure monitoring, hair sampling and face-to-face interviews with residents living in about 2,000 homes that are 500 metres to five kilometres away from turbines.
— with files from QMI Agency
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