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Wind turbines are not harmful to humans: So sayeth CanWEA and AWEA

Amanda Moore — Niagara This Week — June 20, 2013

Canadians should not fear industrial wind turbines, says the national association for that industry.

“Wind farms have been in operation around the world for more than 20 years,” said Robert Hornung, Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) president. “Hundreds of thousands of people around the world live and work near wind turbines. Every country is seeking to continue to grow wind production. As a matter of fact, wind has been recognized as one of the safest and most environmentally friendly forms of electricity generation.”

Hornung said existing research sides with the wind industry.

“We feel we can say, with a high degree of confidence, that based on scientific evidence and experience, wind turbines are not harmful to humans,” said Hornung, noting CanWEA regularly monitors any new information on the issue.

A Guelph-area health professional however, disagrees.  Jeff Aramini, a Fergus, Ont. epidemiologist, is the co-author of the 2010 study, Effects of Industrial Wind Turbines Noise on Sleep and Health, which found the closer people were to the turbines, the more susceptible they were to health problems such as sleeplessness, head aches and problems around mental health.

The study compared sleep and general health outcomes between 81 participants living close to industrial wind turbines, between 375 and 1,400 metres, and further away, between 3.3 and 6.6 kilometres, in two Maine communities — Mars Hill and Vinalhaven. Validated questionnaires were used to collect information on sleep quality, daytime sleepiness and general health, together with psychiatric disorders, attitude and demographics.

“The bottom line is that people that were closer experienced more of these health effects,” said Aramini, CEO of Intelligent Health Solutions and a former manager with the Public Health Agency of Canada. “We didn’t find any association with physical health … but a strong association with impaired mental health to the point where the people living closer experienced significantly higher chance of being at risk for clinical depression.”

CanWEA and its American counterparts, the American Wind Energy Association, jointly commissioned Intrinsik Environmental Sciences to critique Aramini’s study.   Continue reading, here….

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