Halt new wind turbines pending health study report

July 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Now that Health Canada has announced the first comprehensive, made-in-Canada review of the health impacts of wind turbines, Ontario should halt construction of any new turbines.

Accusations that the large electricity generators make people who live near them sick have been flying since the McGuinty government included wind turbines in its plan to encourage and subsidize “clean” electricity generation.

The Liberals’ response has been that studies from around the world show no concrete link between noise and vibration created by the giant revolving blades and illness among people who live near them.

Now the federal government, through Health Canada, has decided to see for itself.

A description posted on Health Canada’s website indicates its study should be strong enough to be accepted as the final word. People living in 2,000 homes situated between 500 metres and five kilometres from eight to 12 different wind farms will be studied. The public now has a month to comment on the study methods before it actually begins, and the eventual results will be peer reviewed.

Health Canada expects to publish results in 2014. That would mean a two-year moratorium on construction of wind turbines and any new approvals, something the Liberals should accept.

Until now it was possible to point to comprehensive reviews of research done elsewhere as the best, and only, evidence of the safety or hazards of wind turbines. That approach dismissed the many accounts by people, some of them Ontario residents, who say they became ill after wind turbines went up near their homes.

By deciding to take its own look, Health Canada has changed the standard. It is a respected, reliable public agency that has identified a need for more research.

On the other side, wind turbine opponents should be on notice that they will be expected to accept Health Canada’s findings – whichever side of the argument they fall on. The new study will look not only at “injury and disease” effects but will consider other kinds of impacts wind turbines are blamed for. It will take into account the World Health Organization’s definition of health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity.”

Canada’s wind energy producers have said they welcome the Health Canada study. They should also accept that until it is complete they will have to hold off on any new projects.

 

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