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The Canadian federal government says it will study whether the noise from wind turbines can harm people's health. Health Canada will conduct the study in conjunction with Statistics Canada to look at the connection between turbine noise and health effects in people living near wind turbines.

The proposed research design and methodology were posted on Health Canada's website for a 30-day public comment period. Feedback obtained will be reviewed by the design committee, compiled and published to the website, along with the design committee's responses.

According to Health Canada, the study will focus on an initially targeted sample size of 2,000 dwellings selected from eight to 12 wind turbine installation facilities in Canada. In addition to taking physical measurements from participants, such as blood pressure, investigators will conduct face-to-face interviews and take noise measurements inside and outside of homes to validate sound modeling, notes Health Canada.

The study results are expected to be published in 2014.

The effort has the support of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), which says it supports the responsible and sustainable development of wind energy in Canada.  "We continue to monitor ongoing scientific research in the area of wind turbines and human health, says Robert Hornung, CanWEA president. "Health Canada’s proposed new study will contribute to the scientific literature and our knowledge base."

Hornung notes that the balance of scientific evidence to date clearly demonstrates that wind turbines do not have an impact on human health and that this perspective has been confirmed by numerous independent reviews of scientific literature. This is backed by a growing body of work, including reports by Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, the National Public Health Institute in Quebec, and most recently, an expert panel to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Department of the Environment, CanWEA notes.

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