Canada launches wind turbine health probe

CANADA: Canada’s federal government is wading into the contentious issue of wind turbine noise and its possible effect on people's health.

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Health Canada plans to launch a comprehensive study. The department, working in conjunction with Statistics Canada, will study 2000 homes ranging from as close as 500 metres to more than five kilometres from 8-12 wind installations.

In addition to interviews to ask subjects about annoyance, sleep quality and stress, researchers will measure blood pressure, take hair samples and monitor sleep patterns.

"This study is in response to questions from residents living near wind farms about possible health effects of low frequency noise generated by wind turbines," says health minister Leona Aglukkaq.

Wind opponents welcomed the study, with the anti-turbine group Wind Concerns Ontario and the province’s Conservative political opposition calling for a moratorium on wind development until it is completed in 2014.

In a statement, the Canadian Wind Energy Association said the new study will contribute to the scientific literature and knowledge base. However, it noted, "the balance of scientific evidence to date clearly demonstrates that wind turbines do not have an impact on human health."

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