The list of studies demonstrating that wind turbines do not cause health effects grew even larger late last week when Health Canada (Canada’s federal health agency) released the results of a major study on wind energy and human health.
The study, first announced in 2012, is the largest of its kind to date. It consisted of three primary components: an in-person questionnaire, administered by Statistics Canada, to randomly selected participants living at varying distances from wind turbines; the collection and evaluation of objective measures of stress such as hair cortisol, blood pressure, and sleep quality; and over 4,000 hours of interior and exterior sound measurements by Health Canada conducted at 1,238 homes.
We weren’t surprised by the results. The study’s key findings included:
- “No evidence was found to support a link between exposure to wind turbine noise and any of the self-reported illnesses (such as dizziness, tinnitus, or migraines) and chronic conditions (such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes).”
- “No association was found between the multiple measures of stress (such as hair cortisol, blood pressure. heart rate, self-reported stress) and exposure to wind turbine noise.”
- “The results of this study do not support an association between wind turbine noise and self-reported or measured sleep quality.”
- “While some people reported some of the health conditions above, their existence was not found to change in relation to exposure to wind turbine noise.”
- “No association was found with any significant changes in reported quality of life, or with overall quality of life and satisfaction with health. This was assessed using the abbreviated version of the World Health Organization’s Quality of Life Scale.”
- “Calculated noise levels were found to be below levels that would be expected to directly affect health (World Health Organization- Community Noise Guidelines ). This finding is consistent with self-reported and measured results of the study.”
The results of this study confirm what experts around the world continue to find, that audible and inaudible sounds emitted from wind turbines do not represent a human health risk. At the same time, the health impacts of other forms of energy generation from pollution are also well understood and well documented. Many of the impacts from these traditional forms of generation have especially acute, negative impacts on the health of our children, the quality of the air we breathe, and the water we drink.
Wind energy is an inexhaustible, homegrown and affordable energy resource. It generates no air or water pollution or hazardous waste, and does not deplete fresh water resources. It also requires no mining, transportation or refining of a feedstock or fuel.
The benefits of wind power, including its ability to benefit the health of local communities by avoiding pollution, are the reason that the vast majority of Americans support increasing its use.