Washington, D.C., November 15–Much of the information contained in a recently published paper, “Effects of industrial wind turbine noise on sleep and health” by Michael A. Nissenbaum, Jeffery J. Aramini, and Christopher D. Hanning (all directors/scientific advisors for the Society for Wind Vigilance), was previously reviewed and considered by experts at the first Environmental Review Tribunal (Erikson v. MOE 2011) hearing on wind energy in Ontario and in the Queen's Bench of Saskatchewan case McKinnon v. Martin (Red Lily Legal Case in 2010).
This information was also reviewed by an expert panel on wind turbines and human health commissioned by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MassDEP/MDPH, 2012), which concluded “attributing any of the observed associations to the wind turbines (either noise from them or the sight of them) is premature.”
Both courts, as well as the Massachusetts independent expert panel, found no justification for halting wind energy development as a result of the information presented by Nissenbaum.
The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) jointly commissioned experts to conduct a scientific critique of this now-published paper. The review by Intrinsik Environmental Sciences has identified “concerns related to study design, methodology, sample size and administration of questionnaires to participants.”
The Intrinsik critique noted that no new sound data were obtained for this study and the use of limited information visually obtained from other reports “is not scientifically defensible and should not have been used to draw conclusions about the findings of the questionnaires with distance from turbine locations.” Intrinsik also found the “authors extend their conclusions and discussion beyond the statistical findings of their study.” Furthermore, Intrinsik concluded, “[the authors] have not demonstrated a statistical link between wind turbines – distance – sleep quality – sleepiness and health.” Download the full Intrinsik critique here: http://www.canwea.ca/pdf/Intrinsik-Review-of-Nissenbaum-2012.pdf.
The balance of scientific evidence and human experience to date clearly concludes that sound from wind turbines does not adversely impact human health. Wind energy is broadly understood to be one of the safest and most environmentally benign forms of electricity generation today and is being developed in more than 89 countries.
As a responsible industry, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) and AWEA continue to work with medical and scientific experts from Canada, the United States and around the world to ensure all credible information on this subject is reviewed and that Canadians and Americans have access to fact-based answers to their questions in order to make informed decisions about our energy future. For information on wind energy and health, visit: http://www.canwea.ca/wind-energy/talkingaboutwind_e.php.
The European Wind Energy Association's statement on the paper can be found here.
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