Dr. Hazel Lynn says an important segment of the population has been left out of a Health Canada study into the impact of industrial wind turbines on peoples’ health.
The Health Canada study, released Thursday, found no link between wind turbine noise and negative health effects in people. But Lynn, the medical officer of health for Grey-Bruce who has done a review of such studies, said some of the best survey findings are from the people who have moved away because they simply couldn’t live near turbines.
“These folks are still living there so obviously they are not in that 10% of people who actually abandoned their homes,” Lynn said of those who participated in the study.
“Although the wind folks would pooh-pooh those people (who have moved away) as being especially difficult, I think they are especially sensitive and if you are living in a place where you are afraid to go to sleep at night then you are going to move. Obviously this study didn’t pick up any of those folks.”
The study by Health Canada of more than 1,200 households living near industrial wind turbines concluded there was no evidence to support a link between exposure to wind turbine noise and adverse ill effects including dizziness and migraines, chronic illnesses such as heart disease and high blood pressure and decreased quality of sleep.
The study did find there was a relationship between wind turbine noise and annoyance towards several features associated with turbines including noise, vibration, shadow flicker and the warning lights on top of them.
More than 400 properties approached for the study were deemed not valid dwellings. David Michaud, a research scientist at Health Canada and principal investigator in the study, said they were deemed not valid for various reasons.
“(Statistics Canada) would visit an address and find out in some cases it could have been a church or could have been an industry, it could have been a vacant home and it could have been a home that is being constructed, so those are considered to be out-of-scope homes because they are not valid addresses for the purpose of this study,” said Michaud.
“If somebody has potentially left their homes because of wind turbines, we would have no way of knowing that in a study like this.”
Health Canada partnered with Statistics Canada for the study, which was launched in 2012 and cost $2.1 million. It included three parts – a questionnaire done by participants; a collection of physical health measures that assessed stress levels using hair cortisol, blood pressure, resting heart rate and measures of sleep quality; and more than 4,000 hours of wind turbine noise measurements conducted by Health Canada.