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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Canada To Study the Health Effects of Wind Turbines

Noise exposure  has  resulted in many compensable hearing losses and compensable conditions for workers' compensation benefits. Canada is undertaking a major study to evaluate the noise generated by the emerging wind energy generating system using wind turbine engines.

Health Canada, in collaboration with Statistics Canada, will undertake a cross-sectional field study to evaluate these self-reported health impacts and symptoms of illness against objective biomarkers of stress and the sound levels generated by wind turbines, including low frequency noise. This data will be correlated with calculated wind turbine noise so that any potential relationship to reported health symptoms can be reliably determined. The research design includes a computer-assisted personal interview using a questionnaire consisting of modules that probe endpoints such as noise annoyance, quality of life, sleep quality, stress, chronic illnesses and perceived impacts on health. Following the 25-minute interview, the subject will be invited to participate in the health measures collection part of the study. This will include an automated blood pressure measurement and the collection of a small hair sample that will provide a 90-day retroactive average cortisol level. An objective evaluation of sleep will be undertaken using actigraphy for a period of 7 consecutive days, which will be synchronised with wind turbine operational data. Environmental sound level measurements, including low frequency noise, will be conducted inside and outside a sub-sample of homes in order to validate parameters ensuring accurate sound level modeling. The sample will consist of 2000 dwellings at setback distances ranging from less than 500 metres to greater than 5 kilometres from 8-12 wind turbine power plants. The results of the research study will contribute to the body of peer-reviewed scientific research examining the health impacts of wind turbine noise.

The last decade has seen a sharp increase in wind turbine generated electricity in Canada. As of May 2012, Canada's installed capacity was 5.4 Gigawatts, representing almost a 7-fold increase since 2005 and 2.3 percent of Canada's current electricity demands. The wind energy industry has set a vision that by 2025 wind energy will supply 20% of Canada's electricity demands. Development has been challenged by public resistance to wind farms based on various concerns, including the potential health impacts of wind turbine noise. The health effects reported by individuals living in communities in close proximity to wind turbine installations are poorly understood due to limited scientific research in this area. This is coupled with the many challenges faced in measuring and modeling wind turbine noise, in particular low frequency noise, which continue to be knowledge gaps in this area. The continued success and viability of wind turbine energy in Canada, and around the world, will rely upon a thorough understanding of the potential health impacts and community concerns that underscore public resistance.

For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman1.973.696.7900 have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered work related accident and injuries.

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