Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Press release]Health Canada Publishes Findings From Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study |

Icon of Wind Turbines

Icon of Wind Turbines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health Canada Publishes Findings From Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study |

From the 2014-11-06  Health Canada press release

Today, Health Canada published findings from the Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study. Launched in 2012, in collaboration with Statistics Canada, this study explored the relationship between exposure to wind turbine noise and the health effects reported by, and measured in, people living near wind turbines.

In the effort of being more open and transparent, the findings are available on Health Canada’s website. The findings provide a more complete overall assessment of the potential impacts that exposure to wind turbines may have on health and well-being.

No evidence was found to support a link between exposure to wind turbine noise and any of the self-reported or measured health endpoints examined. However, the study did demonstrate a relationship between increasing levels of wind turbine noise and annoyance towards several features (including noise, vibration, shadow flicker, and the aircraft warning lights on top of the turbines) associated with wind turbines.

It is important to note that the findings from this study do not provide definitive answers on their own and must be considered in the context of a broader evidence base.

Health Canada has consulted the Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study Expert Committee on these findings. Detailed analysis and results will be shared with Canadians and the international (scientific) community over the next several months with updates provided on the Health Canada website.

Health Canada will hold a technical background briefing with interested media at 11:00 AM EST today (Dial-in information below).

Quick Facts

  • The study was conducted in Southwestern Ontario and Prince Edward Island and included 1238 households out of a possible 1,570 households living at various distances from 399 separate wind turbines in 18 wind turbine developments.
  • This study is the first study related to wind turbine noise to implement the use of both self-reported and physically measured health endpoints.
  • Measured health-related indicators included hair cortisol as a biomarker of stress, blood pressure, resting heart rate and sleep.

Related Products

Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study Results Pamphlet

Wind Turbine Noise

Frequently Asked Questions

Associated Links

Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study: Updated Research Design and Sound Exposure Assessment

January 27, 2015 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Noisy toys: A danger to small children (check those decibel levels!)

Before you buy that cute musical toy or any toy with sound effects, please consider its effect on a child’s hearing organs!!

From a Web page of the Center for Hearing and Communication

Some toys are not as much fun as they look. Many toys designed to stimulate children can be dangerously loud. For the infant or child whose arms are shorter than those of an adult and most typically listens to these toys close to the small, sensitive ear, the risk is even greater.

Current Safety Regulations
Many of today’s noisy toys indicate on the packaging that they Conform to the Safety Requirements of ASTM F963 (American Society for Testing and Materials). The Safety Requirements states, “Toys shall not produce impulsive noises with an instantaneous sound pressure level exceeding 138dB when measured at any position 25cm from the surface of the toy. (This is louder than a jet taking off or the sound of a jack-hammer). The Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that they do not currently have regulations which address the loudness of toys.

How Loud is Too Loud?
To know if a sound is loud enough to cause damage to your ears, it is important to know both the level of intensity (measured in decibels, dBA) and the length of exposure to the sound. In general, the louder the sound, the less time required before hearing will be affected. Standards set by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) indicate that continued exposure to noise over 85 dBA will eventually harm your hearing. To avoid noise-induced hearing loss, OSHA recommends that hearing protection be worn in the workplace when loudness levels and exposure time exceed the allowable standards. For example, 15 minutes exposure at 115 dBA is considered dangerous to hearing and even an exposure of less than 2 minutes at 130 dBA may be hazardous to hearing. Although OSHA protects a person in the workplace, the same protection is not available for children.

Some Examples of Noisy Toys

Certain rattles and squeaky toys are measured at sound levels as high as 110 dBA.
Musical toys, such as electric guitars, drums and horns, emit sounds as loud as 120 dBA.
Toy phones for small children are measured between 123 and 129 dBA.
Toys which are designed to amplify the voice are measured at up to 135 dBA.
Toys producing firearm sounds emit volumes as loud as 150 dBA one foot away from the noise source.
Consumer Responsibility
Protect your children. Be aware that noise can and does cause hearing loss. Listen to a toy before buying it. If it sounds loud, hurts your ears or causes ringing, do not buy it.

November 20, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment

Report Examines Need for a Quieter America

Excerpts from the report by the National Academy of Engineering

Exposure to noise is a fact of life. At high levels, noise can damage hearing, and at lower levels it can disrupt sleep patterns, interfere with communications, and even cause accidents. A new National Academy of Engineering report characterizes the most commonly identified sources of noise, looks at efforts that have been made to reduce noise emissions, and suggests ways to decrease exposure in workplaces, schools, recreational environments, and residences.

Development of noise control technology needs immediate attention, said the committee that wrote the report. America should become more competitive in the production of low-noise products, both to improve quality of life and to advance innovation.

The committee recommends that the federal government explore potential engineering solutions along with changes in policy to control negative effects of noise in the workplace, in communities, and at home. These include cost-benefit analysis of noise reduction, especially for road traffic noise; improved metrics for noise control; lower limits for noise exposure in industry; “buy quiet” programs; wider use of international standards for noise emissions; airplane noise reduction technology; and noise control in public buildings. Improved cooperation between industry and government agencies, particularly the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is also called for.

Related Resources

It's a Noisy Planet. Protect Their Hearing.

  • It’s a Noisy Planet can teach you about the causes and prevention of noise-induced hearing loss so that you and your family can enjoy healthy hearing for life. Approximately 26 million Americans have noise-induced hearing loss, but it is completely preventable. (US National Institutes of Health)

October 20, 2010 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Is Living Under a Flight Path Bad for the Heart?

Excerpt from a Reuters Health Information news item

Friday, October 8, 2010
By Lynne Peeples

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Living with airplanes regularly thundering over your head could risk the healthy pumping of your heart, suggests a new Swiss study.

Based on 4.6 million adults across Switzerland, researchers found that dying from a heart attack was more common with increased exposure to aircraft noise.

“The effect was especially evident for people who were exposed to really high levels of noise, and was dependent on how long those people had lived in the noisy place,” researcher Matthias Egger of the University of Bern, told Reuters Health.

This isn’t the first time that noise has been linked to negative health effects, including cardiovascular risks. But it could be novel progress in determining whether the sound is really exerting the effect, or if it is something else tagging along with the noise, such as air pollution.

“It’s been a problem that when you look at road traffic noise there are both high levels of noise and high levels of air pollution,” said Egger. “By looking at airports we were in a position to disentangle these effects.”

If you need assistance in tracking down the original study/article, please email me at
I will do my best!



October 13, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , | Leave a comment

Loudness Scale

Curious about the loudness of sounds around you and which ones could contribute to hearing loss?
This loudness scale is one tool that may help out.
The sponsors (American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery) remind us that being around noises above 85 decibels (subway noise is about 90 decibels) for long periods of time can lead to hearing loss.

September 17, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: