CMAJ • November 28, 2014
 Canadian Medical Association Journal

Carmen Krogh, BScPharm (retired), is a peer reviewed IWT health researcher and former Director of Publications and Editor-in-Chief of the CPS.

R Y McMurtry is Professor Emeritus (Surgery) of Western University (formerly University of Western Ontario). Dr. McMurtry was also an ADM at Health Canada 2000-02

Industrial wind turbines (IWTs) are being erected at rapid pace around the world. Coinciding with the introduction of IWTs, some individuals living in proximity to IWTs report adverse health effects including annoyance, sleep disturbance, stress-related health impacts and reduced quality of life. [i],[ii],[iii],[iv],[v],[vi],[vii],[viii],[ix],[x],[xi],[xii] In some cases Canadian families reporting adverse health effects have abandoned their homes, been billeted away from their homes or hired legal counsel to successfully reach a financial agreement with the wind energy developer.[xiii]

To help address public concern over these health effects Health Canada (HC) announced the Health Canada Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study (HC Study) 2 years ago and brought forth preliminary results November 6, 2014.

Here we briefly comment on the HC Study results and provide some historical context.

Acknowledgement of IWT adverse health effects is not new. The term “annoyance” frequently appears when discussing IWT health effects.

In a 2009 letter the Honourable Rona Ambrose, disclosed:

“Health Canada provides advice on the health effect of noise and low-frequency electric and magnetic fields from proposed wind turbine projects…To date, their examination of the scientific literature on wind turbine noise is that the only health effect conclusively demonstrated from exposure to wind turbine noise is an increase of self-reported general annoyance and complaints (i.e., headaches, nausea, tinnitus, vertigo).” [xiv]

In 2009, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) sponsored a literature review which acknowledges the reported symptoms such as headaches, nausea, tinnitus, vertigo and state they “… are not new and have been published previously in the context of “annoyance”…” and are the “… well-known stress effects of exposure to noise …”[xv]

In 2011, a health survey of people exposed to IWTs in Ontario reported altered quality of life, sleep disturbance, excessive tiredness, headaches, stress and distress. [xvi]

In the same year, CanWEA posted a media release which advised those impacted by wind turbine annoyance stating “The association has always acknowledged that a small percentage of people can be annoyed by wind turbines in their vicinity. … When annoyance has a significant impact on an individual's quality of life, it is important that they consult their doctor.”[xvii]

It turns out it’s not a small percentage of people annoyed by wind turbines. An Ontario Government report concluded a non-trivial percentage of persons are expected to be highly annoyed.

The December 2011 report prepared by a member of CanWEA for the Ontario Ministry of Environment states in the conclusions:

“The audible sound from wind turbines, at the levels experienced at typical receptor distances in Ontario, is nonetheless expected to result in a non-trivial percentage of persons being highly annoyed. As with sounds from many sources, research has shown that annoyance associated with sound from wind turbines can be expected to contribute to stress related health impacts in some persons.”[xviii]

The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges noise induced annoyance to be a health effect [xix] and the results of WHO research “…confirmed, on an epidemiological level, an increased health risk from chronic noise annoyance…”[xx]

HC also acknowledges noise induced annoyance to be an adverse health effect.[xxi],[xxii] The Principal Investigator of the recent HC Study also states “noise-induced annoyance is an adverse health effect”. [xxiii]

Canadian Government sponsored research has found statistically significant relationships from IWT noise exposure.

A 2014 review article in the Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine reports:

“In 2013, research funded by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment indicated a statistically significant relation between residents’ distance from the turbine and the symptoms of disturbed sleep, vertigo and tinnitus, and recommended that future research focus on the effects of wind turbine noise on sleep disturbance and symptoms of inner ear problems.” [xxiv]

Recently on November 6, 2014, HC posted on its website preliminary results of its HC Study[xxv]. Wind turbine noise “…. annoyance was found to be statistically related to several self-reporting health effects including, but not limited to, blood pressure, migraines, tinnitus, dizziness, scores on the PSQI, and perceived stress” as well as related to “measured hair cortisol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure.”

These troubling results come as no surprise. Since at least 2007 HC employees including the Principal Investigator of the HC Study recommended wind turbine noise criteria which they predict will result in adverse health effects. (i.e. result in an increase percentage highly annoyed).[xxvi],[xxvii],[xxviii]

Then turbines were built and HC spent 2.1 million dollars to find out it appears to have under predicted the impact of IWT noise. HC’s IWT noise criteria does not use a dose response based on IWT noise but rather road noise. But of course IWTs are not cars and peer-reviewed studies consistently document that IWTs produce sound that is perceived to be more annoying than transportation or industrial noise at comparable sound pressure levels. [xxix],[xxx]

IWT noise annoyance starts at dBA sound pressure levels in the low 30s and rises sharply at 35 dBA as compared to road noise which starts at 55 dBA. These findings are further supported by the HC Study’s preliminary results. [xxxi]

IWT noise characteristics that are identified as plausible causes for reported health effects include amplitude modulation, audible low- frequency noise (LFN), infrasound, tonal noise, impulse noise and night-time noise. [xxxii]

The logical solution would be to develop IWT noise criteria which will protect human health but that would present a barrier to wind energy development. Noise limits impacts IWT siting, cost of energy produced [xxxiii] and by extension corporate profits. The wind energy industry has actively lobbied governments to be granted IWT noise exposure limits which benefit their industry.

Canadians trying to understand this should be mindful the Government of Canada has invested and distributed significant amounts of public money to attract and support the wind energy industry. [xxxiv],[xxxv],[xxxvi],[xxxvii],[xxxviii],[xxxix],[xl],[xli] In addition to providing funding, the Government of Canada in collaboration with wind industry stakeholders has developed the Wind Technology Road Map (Wind TRM) [xlii] which Natural Resources Canada defined to be an “…industry-led, government supported initiative that has developed a long-term vision for the Canadian wind energy industry …”.[xliii]

Canada’s Wind TRM states “Members of the Steering Committee, government and our industry will be using this roadmap to direct the actions that are necessary for Canada to develop its vast wind resources.”[xliv] HC is a member of the Interdepartmental Wind Technology Road Map Committee [xlv] which was created to assist in the implementation of Canada’s Wind TRM. [xlvi] One of the “key action items” detailed in the Wind TRM calls for Government and Industry collaboration to develop and maintain government documents that address concerns raised about wind energy projects including that of noise, infrasound and other. [xlvii]

Some jurisdictions are trying to take action to protect their residents. For example, several municipalities in Ontario are trying to establish bylaws that protect from IWT noise. In Wisconsin, on October 14, 2014 the Brown County Board of Health unanimously approved a motion to declare the IWTs at a local project a Human Health Hazard. [xlviii]

It would appear HC’s research effort is too little too late. A non-trivial percentage of Canadians continue to experience adverse health effects. HC now has additional scientific evidence of the “conclusively demonstrated” effects from exposure to IWT noise. It is time for HC to take action to help Canadians maintain and improve their health.

from Wind Concerns Ontario



Wind Concerns Ontario advises results summary and public pamphlet be withdrawn

November 25, 2014

On November 6, 2014, Health Canada released its long-awaited results of the $2.1-million, publicly funded Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study. Only, it didn’t: what was released in a whirlwind public relations effort was a summaryof the study results—no data was presented, nor was there a full formal report, or a publication that had undergone the promised “peer” review, by scientists.

Wind Concerns Ontario immediately convened an expert panel to review the documents available (the summary plus a PowerPoint presentation, and basic study details available on the government website) and has produced a summary report of their comments. The panel consisted of several university professors with expertise in physics and acoustics, as well as an epidemiologist, and a health researcher.

The unanimous conclusion of the expert panel is that the study design was flawed; even so, there are clear findings of a relationship between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.

Key findings from the review panel:

  • Study summary was released prematurely, without a full report, expected peer review, supporting data or analysis
  • Study design was to raise questions but Health Canada concludes inappropriately there is “no association” between turbine noise and adverse health effects; however, the study does find significant correlation between turbine noise and annoyance (an established adverse health effect)—these statements contradict
  • Population sample used included people who were getting a direct benefit from wind power development including money
  • A significant number of addresses were found to have vacant homes or houses that had been demolished—the reasons for this were not explored
  • Work on infrasound and low frequency noise is completely inadequate, say acoustics experts. One hour averages were used (in summer, the season of low wind); also industry-sourced estimates of yearly averages were used in place of actual in-home noise measurement
  • Numerous biases and other errors affect the credibility of some of the study results, as presented in the summary
As the stakeholder group in Ontario, a coalition of community groups and individuals concerned about the impact of industrial-scale wind power generation projects on human health, the environment, and the economy, Wind Concerns Ontario wishes to express its disappointment in Health Canada, which has as its goal the protection of the health of Canadians, using sound science.

Wind Concerns Ontario sent a letter today to the Minister of Health, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, together with the summary of our review panel comments, and a series of recommendations.

We recommend that:

  • Health Canada should remove the summary findings from the Health Canada website in their current version
  • Health Canada should release the final report only after it has gone through the normal peer-review process and been accepted for publication in a recognized academic journal
  • Health Canada should return to the study areas and present the study findings in a series of public meetings, as befitting a publicly-funded research project
  • Health Canada should rescind the “pamphlet” in its current form and if such a publication is deemed necessary, remove the claims about the “comprehensive” nature of the study, and further, affix the disclaimer more prominently.
Please read the full commentary document based on our review panel input here. WCO-HCanResponseFINAL

 Review panel

The following have given permission for their names to be released:

John Harrison, PhD (physics)

Kevin A Dooley, PhD, PEng (fluid dynamics, sound, vibration)

Denise Wolfe (health research)

Joan Morris, MHSc (epidemiology)

Ron Hartlen (Research, electricity utilities, infrasound)

November 10, 2014 
  Dear Prime Minister Harper, Hon. Minister of Health, Hon. Minister of Justice and Attorney General and members of the Health Canada Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study,

On November 6, 2014 Health Canada posted on their website “Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study: Summary of Results”.

We have been contacted by individuals from around the world who have expressed concern over content and the quality of this Health Canada web posting.  

Please find attached our comments for your consideration.

“Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study: Summary of Results” states:  

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

These findings are additional evidence which support the health effects “conclusively demonstrated from exposure to wind turbine noise” identified by Health Canada and disclosed by the Honourable Rona Ambrose in a June 30, 2009 letter.

In the upcoming weeks and months, it is our intention to release a series of commentaries and disclose information on the“Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study: Summary of Results” and the Health Canada Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study.

In the meantime we have compiled the following relevant information to help inform those interested in Health Canada’s Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study. 

Health Canada has reportedly spent over 2 years and 1.8 million dollars to report findings which further support the conclusion that if placed too close to residents wind turbines can harm humans. 

It is now time that Health Canada fulfill its stated responsibilities and take definitive action to protect Canadians exposed to wind turbine noise and help them maintain and improve their health.

Please look forward to our future series of commentaries and information on the “Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study: Summary of Results” and the Health Canada Wind Turbine Noise Study.

Respectfully submitted,
Carmen Krogh, BScPharm
Brett Horner, BA CMA
Ontario, Canada

Personal disclosure: We declare no potential conflicts of interest and have received no financial support with respect to the research and authorship of this commentary. 
Attachment: Industry Led Government Supported_November 10 2014_Release FINAL
GFB Podcast: Dr. Robert McMurtry – November 12th (audio in link)
Posted on November 12, 2014 by Valerie Massie
Dr. Robert McMurtry, the founding director of Wind Concerns Ontario, comments on the Health Canada Study of industrial wind turbines.
On the heels of a media release by the North American Platform Against Wind Power, and on receipt of a sound exploratory synopsis (Denise Wolfe) of gaps and errors in methodology and design in the study/summary of Wind Turbine Noise and Health provided by Health Canada, Dr. Robert

McMurtry offers the following statement:

“I have just had the opportunity to review the Denise Wolfe DOCUMENT, and appreciate its obvious quality, reinforced by knowing something of her background.   The paper is a powerful statement that casts serious doubt on the recent Health Canada and CanWEA preliminary announcement, the background paper and related media statements. I am deeply saddened that the Ministry whom I was so proud to work for, appears to have fallen.”

“In addition, ongoing efforts will be made with our international network to evaluate all elements of the Health Canada conduct and management of this research. Focus will be on their claims about adverse health events’ prevalence and incidence. These health effects have been reported globally (peer review publications), by the public and media in the environs of industrial installations of wind turbines.   Most are found near rural communities and their homes, schools and places of business. Frequent reports are anticipated several times a week given the depth and breadth of background information found to date.”

“This is a process committed to leave no stone unturned in uncovering the whole truth surrounding the issue of health impacts from industrial rural energy projects of wind turbines.”

First Cameron Visiting Chair, Health Canada 1999-2000
Founding Assistant Deputy Minister Population and Public Health,
Health Canada, 2000-2002 – initial 15 months acting ADM
Founding Chair of Society for Wind Vigilance 2010-2012

Denise Wolfe Document, A critique of the findings and to date revealed methodology of the Health Canada Wind Turbine Noise Study

This is a DRAFT (and far from exhaustive) review of the information provided by Health Canada (HC) pertaining to the HC Wind Turbine Noise Study and is designed to serve as a starting point for further discussion.

"Assuming the study followed the study design identified in the Updated Research Design and Sound Exposure Assessment this study cannot be used as the basis for the claims that are being made by Health Canada regarding the lack of association between wind turbines and health."  

download entire pdf document

Press Release:

Health Canada’s Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study: Summary of Results 1

Summary Statements [1] regarding the above study were released this past week by Health Canada; however, the study itself was not released.

Health Canada's summary report on wind turbine noise and health confusing

Media timing issues relating to summary report release and issues with CANWEA press release

Some summary statements indicate no association between wind turbine noise and health

Some summary statements appear to indicate an association between wind turbine noise and health

Reports immediately following Health Canada's press advisory state no problems with wind turbines

No peer reviewed study results released - caution advised in interpretation of summary statements

Summary report statements appear "rushed" given no study or peer reviewed study available

download full statement pdf file

North American Platform Against Wind Power
November  9, 2014

A case of widespread consumer fraud and systemic government abetted torture:  Health Canada’s study furthervictimizes wind turbine refugees and cohabitants. Ontario Anti Wind Groups along with International groups, react strongly with anger to the Health Canada wind turbine noise study, knowing that projects will be exponentially promoted and sanctified worldwide, via this 2 million dollar, taxpayer funded, fraudulent study.

Indeed, hours later, at most a day, thumbing its nose at victims of wind, numbering hundreds with thousands of serious complaints of widespread chronic sleep deprivation and other adverse health effects, and communities with lost or greatly depreciated homes and dead or reduced livestock, Ontario’s Liberals announced approval of a massive turbine array in Niagara, to install the largest turbines ever in Canadian history. 

NA-PAW notes the similarities to the Tobacco lobby, which utilized medical personnel to ignore medical evidence of harm and conduct their own research with results favourable to Big Tobacco. One ad, supported by research conducted by physicians, was purported to express that Philip Morris brand eased irritated throats, and “every case of irritation cleared completely or definitely improved.” Philip Morris soon became a major brand. 

Health Canada’s turbine noise and health study was tailor made for CanWEA; the powerful wind industry lobby group.  There are apparent conflicts of interest on the part of some scientists conducting the study, who may have commercial interests aligned with the wind industry or who have demonstrated a consistent bias towards it
. download entire document here

Health Canada’s study further victimizes wind turbine refugees and cohabitants
Ontario anti-wind groups along with International groups, react strongly with anger to the Health Canada wind turbine noise study, knowing that projects will be exponentially promoted and sanctified worldwide, via this 2 million dollar, taxpayer funded, fraudulent study North American Platform Against Wind Energy NAPAW more responses to be released in the coming days

from the Health Canada Study
"The WTS(Wind Turbine Sound) signal has a fundamental around 0.4 to 0.9 Hz with a number of harmonics at higher frequencies. In some cases these harmonics are readily measured at distances up to 10 km and confirmed to originate from wind turbines by comparing to operational data logs." 

(also see Noise Monitoring in the Vicinity of the Waterloo Wind Farm, note the distance of impacts and acoustic emissions extended out further than 8km.)

Self-reported and objectively measured health indicators among a sample of Canadians living within the vicinity of industrial wind turbines  Author:  Michaud, DavidKeith, Stephen; et al.

This is the detailed description of the methodology used for the Health Canada/Statistics Canada “Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study”, the preliminary results of which are summarized at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/noise-bruit/turbine-eoliennes/summary-resume-eng.php.

From the summary of results:
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.
While some individuals reported some of the health conditions above, the prevalence was not found to change in relation to WTN levels.

Statistically significant exposure-response relationships were found between increasing WTN levels and the prevalence of reporting high annoyance. These associations were found with annoyance due to noise, vibrations, blinking lights, shadow and visual impacts from wind turbines. In all cases, annoyance increased with increasing exposure to WTN [wind turbine noise] levels. …
  • 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.
  • The above associations for self-reported and measured health endpoints were not dependent on the particular levels of noise, or particular distances from the turbines, and were also observed in many cases for road traffic noise annoyance.
  • Although Health Canada has no way of knowing whether these conditions may have either pre-dated, and/or are possibly exacerbated by, exposure to wind turbines, the findings support a potential link between long term high annoyance and health.
  • Findings suggest that health and well-being effects may be partially related to activities that influence community annoyance, over and above exposure to wind turbines.
Download original document: “Self-reported and objectively measured health indicators among a sample of Canadians living within the vicinity of industrial wind turbines: Social survey and sound level modelling methodology”

Colette McLean on The Lynn Martin Show 
Friday, November 7th - 9am - am800cklw.com

Health Canada report says while you may not like them, you may find them annoying, wind turbines are not linked to your health problems. What do you want to tell Health Canada?

Colette was one of the participants in the health study and points out several of its many shortcomings.
"The way they had established the study in the first place they said there would not be any conclusive evidence"
"It is clear to me that my government is not interested in protecting me and my health, the health of my neighbors and my family"

for full audio go to link am800cklw.com short clip below
Join Us for a Fun-Filled Evening

Tickets: $20.

When: Saturday, November 15th @ 6:00 P.M.
Where: Durham Town Hall

Email us for tickets: community@howgreenisthis.org
Phone Susan at (519) 369-1152 to book your tickets.
Visit www.howgreenisthis.org for more information