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Environmental and Workplace Health

Health Canada Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study Design Consultation

On July 10, 2012, Health Canada announced its intention to conduct research to evaluate the relationship between wind turbine noise and potential effects on human health. A summary of the design for the Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study was posted to the Departmental website inviting feedback from interested stakeholders.

Further to early feedback obtained, the consultation period was extended from an initial 30 day period to 60 days, ending September 7, 2012. By the closing date, approximately 950 submissions were received, representing over 1800 pages of feedback and 350 attachments. Acknowledgements of receipt were issued to all respondents.

All comments received were shared with the study's Expert Committee for review and response with feedback triaged according to themes. The Committee met on October 4th, 2012 to discuss feedback and develop responses to the various themes.

Although the purpose of posting the summary research design was to obtain feedback from various stakeholders on the design, numerous non-design related comments were received. Comments considered non-design in nature included, but were not limited to, those focusing on the consultation approach, calls for moratoriums on wind turbine development, involvement of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), efficiency of wind turbine generated electricity and overall merit of the research.

Design related feedback focussed on areas including:

  • Participation
  • Control group
  • Composition of the Expert Committee
  • Bias
  • Wind turbine noise characterisation
  • Design modifications
  • Scope
  • Modeling of wind turbine noise
  • Infrasound
  • Measured endpoints
  • Questionnaire/Survey design
  • Sample selection
  • Statistical analysis
  • Results interpretation
  • Use of references

The research design attempts to address many of the limitations of previous studies in this area. Further to the feedback received, changes to the study design have been introduced, which are in many cases elaborated upon in the revised research methodology paper. Some of the most apparent changes include an assessment of infrasound and consideration for non-noise related impacts in the questionnaire survey instrument. For example, the questionnaire now includes items related to shadow flicker, warning lights and perceived impacts on property value.

Health Canada would like to express its gratitude to the hundreds of Canadians who provided input into the study design. Your feedback is valued and has served to strengthen the overall design and, ultimately, the quality of research. To receive a CD with a copy of the full set of comments received during the 60 day web consultation, please send a request with a mailing address to CCRPB-PCRPCC@hc-sc.gc.ca.

Themed comments and expert committee responses are provided below.

Additional Information