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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 opponents of the towering turbines lauded.
Residents submitted more than 950 comments during a public consultation. The department said those comments led to some of the revisions.
Health Canada said changes were made to the assessment of infrasound and a questionnaire Statistics Canada administered.
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.
“We’re just so happy that Health Canada is looking into things,” Kevin Boudreau of the Hillside Boularderie and Area Concerned Citizens Group said in a telephone interview from his home Sunday evening.
“It’s a great thing that (Health Canada) is listening.”
Boudreau lives in Cape Breton on Boularderie Island, just 1,000 metres from where Natural Forces Technologies Inc. of Halifax wants to build a 5.6-megawatt, three-turbine farm.
“We’re all for green energy but they are just too close to homes and to wildlife.”
He is particularly worried about the effect infrasound may have on his hearing.
“I have a burnt-out eardrum and a hole in the other one.”
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.
A team of more than 25 experts in acoustics, health assessment and medicine, including four international advisers, are conducting the study.
Results are expected in late 2014.
With Davene Jeffrey, staff reporter
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