“High probability” of serious health effects from wind turbine noise emissions, say researchers

Government and public health authorities have failed to protect health, say researchers in a new paper published in Environmental Disease journal

 

Home in Huron County surrounded by turbines [Photo Gary Moon for WCO]
October 24, 2021

Wind power developers and their government supporters have long claimed that there is “no proof” of a link between wind turbine noise emissions and poor health. Yet concerns persist around the world, and there are many people who claim to have had their lives and health adversely affected by being forced to live near the wind power generators.

A new research paper published last week in the Environmental Disease journal concludes that “exposure to IWTs [industrial wind turbines] is associated with an increased risk of AHEs [Adverse Health Effects]. The analysis concludes that living or working near IWTs can result in AHEs in both people and animals.”

The paper addresses the fact that despite many thousands of complaints about noise and health effects around the world, research as yet to conclude a causal relationship between wind turbine noise and poor health. The authors employ a series of criteria developed by famed epidemiologist and statistician Sir Austin Bradford Hill in order to answer that question.

The result? The criteria for establishing a cause and effect relationship were met and the conclusion can be made that “exposure to IWTs is associated with an increased risk” of adverse health effects.

The authors cite studies from all around the world, including Shepherd in New Zealand, the Bridgewater study in Australian and numerous others, as well as papers produced by Wind Concerns Ontario on noise complaints filed with the Ontario government. One study was completed by two acoustics experts who became ill themselves while studying the noise emissions from a wind power project in the United States.

Most noise studies do not accurately measure wind turbine noise

“The vast majority of studies of sound from wind turbines do not accurately measure the presence of LFN [low frequency noise] or infrasound,” the authors said. “This failure of public health authorities and governments to monitor the impact of LFN and infrasound on exposed individuals impedes the proper interpretation of results and is not consistent with the WHO [World Health Organization] report “Guidelines for Community Noise’ that states: ‘When prominent low-frequency components are present, noise measures based on A-weighting are inappropriate’.”

A failure of government and public health authorities

The authors say with the “growing weight of evidence” and the “rapid proliferation of IWT installations globally” it is time for governments to act to protect public health.

“Preventive action should be taken and policies implemented that are more cautiously protective of public health, safety and welfare,” the authors conclude.

“More stringent regulation is needed to recognize, monitor, analyze, and document effects on the health of local residents and animals.”

More effective and precautionary setback distances should also be employed.

In Ontario, the regulations governing the approval and monitoring of industrial-scale wind turbines has not changed since 2009, and many aspects of the regulations still in force today were dictated to previous governments by the wind power lobby, including setback distances.

A statement by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health published in 2010 also has not been revised (though an update was developed in 2014 but never published). It continues to be used by Ontario medical officers of health as “proof” that there is no link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects, despite thousands of records of complaints held by the environment ministry.

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

 

Comments

Andre Lauzon
Reply

I am sure the wind industry knows about the risks of living and working near IWT. What we need for the truth to be known by all is a multi billion $ law suit against the industry and politicians who are pushing this.

Shirley Dolan
Reply

This is welcome news for all those who have had to live in the shadow of large industrial wind turbines. Finally, someone is listening. If only the City of Ottawa would pay attention and stop promoting industrial wind turbines as a permitted use on prime agricultural land in rural Ottawa. People live here, don’t you know!

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

The next step in Ottawa (the elected councillors are still denying that there will be wind turbines although on page 17 of the Energy Evolution document is a project with a due date of 2025 for a deliverable of 20 megawatts of wind) will be the zoning bylaws. Wind Concerns Ontario will issue a statement soon on recommended setback distances.

Sommer
Reply

The government in Ontario needs to start by turning off the turbines that are too close or in some cases sited such that they’re surrounding homes and neighbourhoods in clusters.
It will be interesting to see the statement that WCO will issue because WCO is in possession of FOI files and well aware of the most problematic clusters.

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

Yes. The problem now is that FOI results are incomplete; in the last fulfillment several offices submitted nothing at all, and others that had had many complaints had reduced numbers. Fortunately, our members kept a record of their Incident Report numbers so we could go back with evidence that reports had not been turned over to us. That particular request has gone back to the District Offices with the request that they do it right.
In addition, the Provincial Officers now know that their remarks will be read and quoted, so they are becoming very sparse when they are included in the reports at all.
What a pathetic situation.
The answer however is NOT to stop filing noise complaints, and NOT for us to stop asking for the records. We persist.

Sommer
Reply

It took enormous effort for the people being harmed when the turbines that were sited to surround their homes were first turned on. Those who felt they could, reported harm consistently, and did so honestly because they were seeking protection and they genuinely believed that they could limit harm to others who they knew were not reporting to the SPILL HOTLINE. The experience with the agents of the Ministry of Environment, their policy makers and even the agents at Minstry of Health was consistent denial that turbines were the cause of the harm they were reporting.They all insisted that the policies and regulations were being met and yet the people being harmed were consistently saying that those policies and regulations were obviously inadequate. Even the eventual breakthrough with the tonal noise non compliance admission, of over half of the turbines in the largest project in Ontario, did not result in derating. Instead the regulations were changed to give them a pass.
When the Health Unit, ignored the anecdotal reports of harm which they had on file and insisted they had to verify the claims of harm through a process that allowed the harm to continue for another two and a half years, it became obvious that the Health Unit agents were part of the wall of denial of harm.
This situation eventually led to learned helplessness. To seek protection people had to continue to leave their home as much as possible, until the covid lockdowns came about.
In some cases people felt forced to leave their homes and live far enough away from the turbines to protect themselves, despite the deep sadness they experienced in doing so because people who lovingly steward their land are not transients.
Yes, this is indeed a pathetic situation!

Stan Thayer
Reply

Wow, lots in there.
The new Tewin development just passed by the city of Ottawas official plan deos not include roads but does include wind energy.
If I understand it right, electric cars are out, carry-in water is in, shit in a bucket, dump it in the nearest ditch, that will become the norm and tahell with Covid 19 rules.
Ya gotta love liberals!

Stan

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

Can you point us to a reference linking the Tewin proposal to wind power? The Official Plan for Ottawa now includes this statement: “6) Large-scale provincially regulated wind turbines are not permitted on lands designated Agricultural Resource Area. This policy does not apply to small-scale wind generation associated with a permitted principal use.” We did not see any reference to wind power being used for Tewin. Thank you.

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