The moon is pictured behind power-generating wind turbines from a wind farm near the village of Ludwigsburg, northern Germany October 5, 2014. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
OTTAWA - Some may find them annoying and that might cause stress, but there's no direct link between wind turbines and human health.
In the most comprehensive study of its kind in the country, Health Canada scientists looked at communities that host wind farms. Two dozen government, academic and industry experts contributed to the study.
Researchers examined 1,200 participants living within two kilometres of wind turbines in Ontario and P.E.I.
The study's results are only applicable to those two jurisdictions, researchers said.
Scientists found that while some residents living near wind turbines noted some indicators of stress -- sleep disruption, headaches -- there was nothing to indicate those stressors were the result of the wind turbines.
"If someone indicated a higher level of perceived stress, (in some cases they) did have higher cortisol levels (a hormone released when an individual experiences stress)," a Health Canada official told reporters. "However, these (were) not related to wind turbine exposure."
Wind farms in Ontario have been blamed on everything from bat deaths to hurting weather radar capabilities and causing ill health.
Those living near turbines have reported a slew of symptoms including trouble sleeping and headaches. Those claims have been behind a growing anti-turbine movement in the province, of which group Wind Concerns Ontario is part.
Jane Wilson, the group's president, says she has a hard time reconciling the report with the stories she hears from fellow wind-power haters.
"Wind power has some applications, but it shouldn't be next to people's homes," she said.
Interestingly, wind power has been used for decades in Alberta, where it is considered among the most commercially viable forms of alternative energy.
Pembina Institute's Tim Weiss has reported that since 2000, the Alberta Utilities Commission has received zero complaints about wind turbines, compared with more than 200 annually to do with the oil and gas sector.
The Ontario Agency of Health Protection and Promotion study found that "having a negative attitude toward wind turbines in general or their visual impact on the landscape were associated with annoyance."