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Health Canada to study effects of wind turbines

As Ontario moves forward to boost its green energy infrastructure, Health Canada is conducting a study on the possible health effects of living near wind turbines.

Critics claim the machines can cause a variety of symptoms, including vertigo, headaches, tinnitus and difficulty concentrating and sleeping. Those problems have been collectively referred to as wind turbine syndrome — a term coined by American researcher Dr. Nina Pierpont, who published a book on the subject in 2009.

“This study is in response to questions from residents living near wind farms about possible health effects of low frequency noise generated by wind turbines,” Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said in a statement on Tuesday.

In 2010, the provincial government signed a $7-billion deal with a South Korean consortium, led by Samsung, to build wind and solar farms across the province. Ontario guidelines require turbines be installed at least 550 metres away from a residential area — one of the continent’s most-stringent setback requirements, according to the province. Some critics think that guideline needs an update.

Experts in noise, health assessment, clinical medicine and epidemiology will be conducting the study for Health Canada. The results of the study will be available in 2014. It will focus on 2,000 homes around wind facilities across the country.

Click here for more information on the study.

In a 2010 study, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health declared the turbines cause no adverse health effects.