Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study revised research design released

C. Davis photo
Health Canada press release

The reliance on wind as a source of energy is increasing in Canada and around the world.  Some residents in communities that host large-scale turbine electricity generators have reported adverse health effects which they attribute to the sound emitted by operating wind turbines. 

Health Canada provides advice on the potential health impacts of environmental noise, including that from wind turbines, which is protective of health. This advice is based on reviews of the scientific literature, World Health Organization guidelines, international standards, and knowledge gained from environmental assessments.

On February 10th, the Honourable Canada Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq announced Health Canada published a revised research design for the wind turbine noise and health study, which is being carried out in collaboration with Statistics Canada.

The proposed research design was posted on the Health Canada website in July 2012 for public comment and over 950 comments were received during the 60 day public consultation period. After an evaluation of feedback received during the consultation, the Expert Committee introduced changes to the research design including an assessment of infrasound and changes to the questionnaire administered by Statistics Canada. The Expert Committee includes specialists in areas pertaining to noise measurement, health assessment, clinical medicine and epidemiology.

“Our Government is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadian families, and 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 Minister Aglukkaq. “The Expert Committee has carefully reviewed and evaluated the feedback received during the public consultation and has taken it into consideration when developing the revised research design.”

Study results are anticipated in late 2014. An initial target sample size of 2,000 dwellings will be 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.

The revised research design is available on the Health Canada website ( A summary of the public comments received during the consultation period and the responses from the Expert Committee are also available on the website.

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