A Health Canada study has found no evidence to support a link between exposure to wind turbine noise and health effects reported by people living near the towering structures.
The year-long study explored the relationship between exposure to noise and health effects reported by people living near wind turbines.
The study included a detailed questionnaire to an adult resident in more than 1,200 households in Southwestern Ontario and PEI living at various distances from almost 400 wind turbines.
A subgroup of residents also had measurements taken of health-related indicators such as hair cortisol as a biomarker of stress, blood pressure, resting heart rate and sleep.
The study found no causal relationship between wind-turbine noise and any health effects identified through this testing, but Health Canada says the study alone cannot provide definitive answers and more research may be needed.
The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) welcomes new research by Health Canada, a summary of which, released today, concludes that there is no evidence of a causal relationship between exposure to wind turbine noise and self-reported medical illnesses and health conditions.
Specifically, the Health Canada study finds:
- No evidence to support a link between exposure to wind turbine noise and any of the self-reported illnesses and chronic conditions
- No association between multiple measures of stress and exposure to wind turbine noise
- No association between wind turbine noise and self-reported or measured sleep quality
- No association between wind turbine noise and any significant changes in reported quality of life, or with overall quality of life, and satisfaction with health.
The study did find a correlation, but not a causal relationship, between increasing levels of wind turbine noise and annoyance. The Health Canada summary identified a number of other factors that may contribute to annoyance levels, including economic benefit, visual appearance and noise sensitivity.
“Based on the summary, the Health Canada study is an important new addition to scientific research on wind turbines and human health. We look forward to reviewing the results of the Health Canada study in more detail and will continue to monitor the scientific literature in this area,” says CanWEA president Robert Hornung. “The balance of scientific evidence to date continues to show that properly sited wind turbines are not harmful to human health and that wind energy remains one of the safest and environmentally friendly forms of electricity generation.”