Opponents to wind farms who allege health risks have their first scientific support in a peer-reviewed study linking proximity to turbines to illness.
An article, published in the "Noise and Health" journal, gave optimism to some people in rural and agricultural southwestern Ontario, where wind farms are proliferating despite resistance from residents, the London (Ontario) Free Press reports.
The scientific journal addresses a study done in Maine by Canadian epidemiologist Jeffery Aramini that suggests people living within a mile of wind turbines experience more sleep deprivation and mental health issues than those further away.
"The reality is that some people are getting sick," Aramini says. "As a public health person, I can't wrap my head around [government inaction]."
Opponents in Ontario have been rebuffed for several years by the provincial government and health officials, who say there is no scientific basis for health concerns.
Esther Wrightman, who leads one local opposition group near Strathroy, Ontario, called the report a breakthrough.
"I view it as a huge step forward. It definitely gives credibility to our case," she says.
Chris Forrest of the Canadian Wind Energy Association played down the journal's report.
"The balance of scientific, medical, and human experience to date clearly demonstrates that sound from wind turbines does not adversely impact human health," he says.
Edited from United Press International.