Health Unit releases results of turbine study - July 19, 2018
BY DENNY SCOTT
An interim report from Huron County epidemiologist Erica Clark regarding wind turbine noise, vibration and light points to 60 per cent of the 40 total respondents for the study experiencing negative effects due to wind turbines.
Clark’s report, which is available through the Huron County Health Unit, was deemed necessary in 2015 by the Health Unit based on another study undertaken by the Council of Canadian Academics, which stated there was sufficient evidence of annoyances caused by the turbines, limited evidence of sleep disturbance and inadequate evidence of other adverse health effects. The council noted that further research was necessary to determine potential human health risks.
The council identified knowledge gaps that needed to be filled and Clark’s report focuses on two such gaps: the impact of turbines on children and infants and the lack of a reporting system providing consistent collection of residents’ experiences.
The study was set to collect and analyze observations for one year from Huron County residents that live near turbines to understand what, if any, impact turbines have on the residents.
The scope of the project considered the proximity of those who are being “bothered, disturbed or annoyed by noise, vibration, light and/or sensations from the wind turbines,” and how often those residents are affected by the turbines.
Lastly, the project will evaluate any environmental conditions that increase the probability of residents being negatively affected by the turbines.
All Huron County residents living within 10 kilometres can participate in the study, meaning the study could take into account approximately 30,000 county residents.
The study commenced in October, 2017 and, as of earlier this month, 105 residents have signed consent forms to participate in the turbine study. Forty have completed a registration survey and 35 have been giving input through an “Observation Diary”.
Of the 40, Clark reports that half are male and the majority are not leaseholders for a wind turbine company. Sixty per cent of the respondents have reported a negative impact by wind turbines, with noise being most commonly reported.
Residents are still welcome to sign up for the study until the end of October and data collection continues until Dec. 1, 2018. A second interim report will be released after that collection concludes.
The final report will be released in 2019.
Clark reports the Huron County Health Unit will not be writing an order under Section 13 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. A Section 13 order, issued by a medical officer of health or a public health inspector, forces a “person to take or to refrain from taking any action that is specified in the order in respect of a health hazard.”
Clark, in the report, says that a single study will not provide enough evidence to link the turbines to negative effects and further, the medical officer of health doesn’t have the authority to shut down wind turbines.
For more information, the seven-page report can be found on the Huron County Health Unit website at www.huronhealthunit.ca.