M E M O   /   N O T E   D E   S E R V I C E

 

oph_hor_ef_black

 


To / Destinataire :

Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee / Comité de l’agriculture et des affaires rurales

File/N° de fichier:
ACS2009-CCS-ARA-0005

From / Expéditeur :

Dr. Isra Levy, Medical Officer of Health / Médecin-chef en santé publique

 

Subject / Objet :

Wind Turbines / Éoliennes

Date:  January 6, 2010

 

 

Background

 

The Council of the City of Ottawa, at its meeting held on July 8, 2009, passed the following motion:

 

That Council direct the Ottawa Public Health Department to request a comprehensive review of the available peer-reviewed medical literature regarding wind turbine related health issues, in particular from Northern European countries, coordinated by the Province of Ontario and that the Medical Officer of Health report back to Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee within 6 months.

 

Councillors also requested that this review look at all potential routes of exposure, including possible health effects due to noise resulting from wind turbines.

 

 

Update

 

On July 14, 2009, the Medical Officer of Health sent a letter to the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) for the Province of Ontario to give notice of the above motion and request information on how the MOE planned to proceed with the request to coordinate a peer-reviewed medical literature review.

 

The Assistant Deputy Minister of the Environment responded on August 28, 2009, with the assurance that the MOE will establish and fund an academic research chair in renewable energy technologies and health with the mandate to conduct literature reviews on renewable energy health impacts.

 

Further to the response submitted by the MOE, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Arlene King, released a memorandum regarding wind turbines to Medical Officers of Health on October 23, 2009. This memorandum advised that the Public Health Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) had collaborated with the MOE, the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure and the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (OAHPP) to review the literature on the potential health impacts of wind turbines.

A summary of the literature review conclusions was circulated to Ottawa Public Health.  The review concluded that “there is no evidence of noise-induced health effects at levels emitted by wind turbines; sound is sometimes found to be annoying to some people, which may result in stress and sleep disturbances”.  To further reduce the public health concerns about wind turbines, Dr. King reiterated that the MOHLTC would be collaborating with provincial ministries to secure an academic research chair to further study and keep abreast of any potential health effects of renewable energy projects including wind turbines. 

 

 

Conclusion

 

The Ontario government has fulfilled the request by Ottawa City Council to conduct a comprehensive review of the available peer-reviewed medical literature regarding wind turbine related health issues. The review did not find evidence of health effects that would warrant public health interventions at this point in time. Ottawa Public Health will continue to follow the work of experts and provincial ministries tasked with studying this emerging issue. 

 

 

Author’s Initials Prepared by Initials

 

 

Attach.            Correspondence to the Deputy Minister of the Environment from the Medical Officer of Health

Correspondence to the Medical Officer of Health from the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Environment

Memorandum to Ontario Medical Officers of Health and Environmental Health Directors

 

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