Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How Dangerous is it to Live Near a Wind Turbine?

English: Modern wind energy plant in rural sce...
English: Modern wind energy plant in rural scenery. Français : Une éolienne moderne dans un paysage rural. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Measuring electromagnetic fields (EMF) around wind turbines in Canada: is there a human health concern?(8 page pdf, Lindsay C McCallum, Melissa L Whitfield Aslund, Loren D Knopper, Glenn M Ferguson and Christopher A Ollson, Environmental Health, Feb. 15 ,2014) 

Also discussed here: Electromagnetic fields and public health - Exposure to extremely low frequency fields(Backgrounder, World Health Organization, June 2007) 

Today we review the first objective research into health hazards near wind turbines n Canada, based on extensive measurements of electromagnetic fields (EMF) near a wind farm in southwestern Ontario. Despite popular fears about the potential dangers, results indicate that the EMF near a wind turbine (3-4 mG) is much less than from a microwave oven (300 mG) or a electric shaver (600mG) and therefore does not constitute a significant health threat which is backed up by statements form the World Health Organization and Health Canada. Even the fields below high voltage (500 kV) power lines, another target of public health concerns, are small (16-46 mG) by comparison. This finding is important in dismissing arguments against windpower which could be a major replacement for carbon-powered electricity sources which play a large role in high air pollution levels. 

magnetic field  

Key Quotes: 

“this study is the first to provide quantitative measurements of EMF around wind turbines in Canada.” 

“The results suggest that there is nothing unique to wind farms with respect to EMF exposure; in fact, magnetic field levels in the vicinity of wind turbines were lower than those produced by many common household electrical devices and were well below any existing regulatory guidelines with respect to human health” 

“the WHO has stated (based on approximately 25,000 articles published over the past 30 years) that the evidence related to childhood leukemia is not strong enough to be considered causal” 

“there are no accepted biophysical mechanisms that would suggest that low-level exposures are involved in cancer development.” (WHO, 2007) 

“human exposure to EMF from wind turbines is negligible in comparison to common household exposures. For example, typical magnetic field levels associated with common household appliances reported by the NIEHS at six inches from the source, include 40 mG for a refrigerator, 50 mG for a ceiling fan, 100 mG for a dishwasher, 300 mG for a microwave, 600 mG for an electric shaver and 700 mG for a hairdryer” 

“Health Canada does not consider that any precautionary measures are needed regarding daily exposures to EMFs at ELFs. There is no conclusive evidence of any harm caused by exposures at levels found in Canadian homes and schools, including those located just outside the boundaries of power line corridors”
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