Health Canada—in spite of itself!—finds a significantly harmful relationship between human health and wind turbine noise

the-scream-1893(1)

“The Scream” by Edvard Munch

See UPDATE further below.

From Health Canada’s November 6, 2014 news release of its $2.1 million Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study:

the study did demonstrate a relationship between increasing levels of wind turbine noise and annoyance towards several features (including noise, vibration, shadow flicker, and the aircraft warning lights on top of the turbines) associated with wind turbines.

“Annoyance,” as a criterion within the context of a health study, is a recognized, significant health hazard:

A WHO epidemiology study assessed noise annoyance and documented significantly elevated relative risks exist both in the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, and the musculoskeletal system as well as by depression. The study concluded that for chronically strong annoyance a causal chain exists between the three steps [of] health – strong annoyance – increased morbidity. Other symptoms associated with annoyance from various noise sources include: stress, sleep disturbance, headaches, difficulty concentrating, irritability, fatigue, dizziness or vertigo, tinnitus, anxiety, heart ailments, and palpitation. Chronic severe annoyance induced by noise must be classified as a serious human health risk. 

The Health Canada report is only a summary:

A more detailed presentation of the results will be submitted for publication in scientific journals. Results should only be considered final following peer-review and publication in the scientific literature.

The finding of “a relationship between increasing levels of wind turbine noise and annoyance” should have been big, game-changing news and raised serious alarm bells in Ontario, where the Wynne Liberal government is intent on continuing to destroy farmland, rural communities, families, livelihoods, quality of life, wildlife, the environment, beautiful landscapes, and property values with thousands more of the useless industrial monsters, against the will of most of the people and the communities affected, and to the despair of urbanites knowledgeable about the subject. But no—the finding of annoyance, an important health indicator which has an established “causal chain” of “health – strong annoyance – morbidity,” did not make the headlines and was barely mentioned in most media reports, or was dismissed in the “colloquial” sense of the word “annoyance.” Instead, most of the mainstream media dutifully reported a contradictory finding of wind turbine noise (WTN) and human health, which in Health Canada’s summary was detailed first and was helpfully highlighted in a box so as not to be missed:

The following were not found to be associated with WTN exposure:

  • self-reported sleep (e.g., general disturbance, use of sleep medication, diagnosed sleep disorders);
  • self-reported illnesses (e.g., dizziness, tinnitus, prevalence of frequent migraines and headaches) and chronic health conditions (e.g., heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes); and
  • self-reported perceived stress and quality of life.

But further along in the summary, Health Canada does admit that:

  • WTN annoyance was found to be statistically related to several self-reported health effects including, but not limited to, blood pressure, migraines, tinnitus, dizziness, scores on the PSQI, and perceived stress.
  • WTN annoyance was found to be statistically related to measured hair cortisol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Health Canada then qualifies these statistically significant findings of both self-reported health effects and objective, measured health indices with statements about how the same things were observed for road traffic annoyance, that the conditions may have pre-dated industrial wind turbine installations, and that community annoyance activities could play a role over and above WTN. Of course!

Health Canada’s study has been heavily criticized on a variety of aspects having to do with its design, methodology, and its unseemly hasty conclusions that favour the wind energy sector’s efforts to convince us that industrial wind turbines are safe and do not adversely affect human health. Find out how and why Health Canada’s Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study is deeply flawed:

UPDATE 

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