International panel of experts conclude sound from wind turbines has no harmful effect on human health

International panel of experts conclude sound from wind turbines has no harmful effect on human health

OTTAWA, December 15, 2009 – An international panel of experts has released a report based on a review of a large body of scientific literature on sound and health effects, and specifically with regard to sound produced by wind turbines. After extensive review, analysis and discussion, the panel has concluded that sounds or vibrations emitted from wind turbines have no adverse effect on human health.

The study is the most thorough of its kind ever produced by a group of medical or scientific professionals. The seven-member panel includes experts in the fields of medicine, audiology, acoustics, environmental and public health from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Denmark

“The panel’s multidisciplinary approach helped to fully explore the many published scientific reports related to the potential impact of wind turbines on people’s health,” said Dr. Robert J. McCunney, one of the authors of the study and an occupational/environmental medicine physician and research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “There is no evidence that the sounds, nor the sub-audible vibrations, emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects on humans.”

The study’s panel was jointly established by the American Wind Energy Association and the Canadian Wind Energy Association to conduct a review of all current peer-reviewed scientific literature available on the issue of perceived health effects of wind turbines. The objective of the panel was to provide an authoritative reference document for those making legislative and regulatory decisions about wind turbine developments.

“The Canadian Wind Energy Association supports the responsible and sustainable development of wind energy in Canada,” said CanWEA president Robert Hornung. “This study will go a long way in addressing people’s concerns and answering their questions about the effects of wind turbines. Canada’s wind energy industry will continue to take a proactive role in ensuring wind energy developments are good neighbours to the communities that have embraced wind energy.”

The executive summary states that the panel had ‘reached consensus on the following conclusions’:
• There is no evidence that the audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects.
• The ground-borne vibrations from wind turbines are too weak to be detected by, or to affect, humans.
• The sounds emitted by wind turbines are not unique. There is no reason to believe, based on the levels and frequencies of the sounds and the panel’s experience with sound exposures in occupational settings, that the sounds from wind turbines could plausibly have direct adverse health consequences.

About the Canadian Wind Energy Association

CanWEA is the voice of Canada’s wind energy industry, actively promoting the responsible and sustainable growth of wind energy on behalf of its more than 450 members. A national non-profit association, CanWEA serves as Canada’s leading source of credible information about wind energy and its social, economic and environmental benefits. To join other global leaders in the wind energy industry, CanWEA believes Canada can and must reach its target of producing 20 per cent or more of the country’s electricity from wind by 2025. The document Wind Vision 2025 – Powering Canada’s Future is available at

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