MIT Review Finds No Health Risks From Wind Turbines

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A new Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study has found no direct link between wind turbines and human health problems.

According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), which funded the project, the study provides an independent, comprehensive and multidisciplinary review of scientific literature on wind turbines and human health. The report has been peer reviewed and published online in the Journal of Environmental and Occupational Medicine.

CanWEA says the major conclusions of the literature review are consistent with findings of most related epidemiological studies, including the recently released Health Canada summary.

The MIT review has found the following:

– No cohort or case-control studies were located in this updated review of the peer-reviewed literature. Nevertheless, among the cross-sectional studies of better quality, no clear or consistent association is seen between wind turbine noise and any reported disease or other indicator of harm to human health.

– Measurements of low-frequency sound, infrasound, tonal sound emission, and amplitude-modulated sound show that infrasound is emitted by wind turbines. However, the levels of infrasound at customary distances to homes are typically well below audibility thresholds.

– Components of wind turbine sound, including infrasound and low frequency sound, have not been shown to present unique health risks to people living near wind turbines.

– Annoyance associated with living near wind turbines is a complex phenomenon related to personal factors. Noise from turbines plays a minor role in comparison with other factors in leading people to report annoyance in the context of wind turbines.

"This document is an important new contribution to the scientific literature on wind turbines and human health and captures the advances in our scientific understanding since CanWEA first commissioned such a review five years ago," says CanWEA President Robert Hornung.

"We will continue to monitor scientific research in this area, but it remains clear that the balance of scientific evidence to date continues to show that properly sited wind turbines are not harmful to human health and that wind energy remains one of the safest and most environmentally friendly forms of electricity generation."

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