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Waiting for results of wind turbine study would be prudent  

Credit:  By Medicine Hat News Opinon on May 24, 2013 | medicinehatnews.com ~~

One of the biggest wind energy projects is about to invade our landscape with more than 300 additional wind turbines.

Although a green energy project is admirable we should be asking if this project is appropriate now, just a matter of months before the Health Canada research study is due.

On July 11, 2012, Health Canada acknowledged a growing number of complaints about reported negative health effects on people living near wind turbines.

Faced with the increased concerns a $1.8 million study by Health Canada was launched to initially focus on 2,000 residents living near a dozen wind turbine installations. At the time there were 140 land-based wind farms in Canada with most located in Ontario and Quebec.

A team of 25 experts in acoustics, health assessment and medicine were appointed to the Health Canada study, including four international advisers.

At the time Health Canada said, “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.”

Exposure to low-frequency noise and vibrations are believed to contribute to “inaudible infrasound” affecting sleep disorders, headaches, depressions, anxiety and blood pressure, said Sherri Lange, CEO of North American Platform Against Wind Power, at the time.

Others in Canada concurred and welcomed Health Canada’s study.

Within two months of the study being announced there were 950 submissions, 1,800 pages of feedback and 350 attachments from people voicing their experiences and concerns.

Health Canada is working with Statistics Canada on an epidemiological study to measure the health of people living up to 10 km from wind turbine installations.

With sleep disturbances being a central theme of complaints the study is working to quantify the magnitude of sleep disturbance.

The wind turbine sounds can come from the mechanics of the motor or gearbox and also aerodynamics as the wind passes over the blades. The noise is similar to that produced in buildings by heat and ventilation systems.

There have been calls for a moratorium on wind turbine development.

Whether or not you believe the complaints are real or perceived it seems very strange that we would embark on an expensive installation of more than 300 wind turbines in this region, in proximity to residences, before the results of a study are made known.

Surely a six-month delay in this process, even a one- year delay, until the study is concluded in 2014 and made public is not unreasonable. Consider the ramifications financially and physically if there are shown to be significant health risks in the report.

Source:  By Medicine Hat News Opinon on May 24, 2013 | medicinehatnews.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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