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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 65-87

Wind turbines and adverse health effects: Applying Bradford Hill's criteria for causation


1 Independent Health Researcher, Western University, London, Canada
2 Department of Medicine and Dentistry, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University; Department of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London; Prince Edward County Family Health Team, Picton, ON, Canada
3 Magentica Research Group, Member of the Board of Directors, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Anne Dumbrille
538 Morrison Point Road, Milford, ON K0K 2P0
Canada
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ed.ed_16_21

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The weight of evidence indicates occurrences of adverse health effects (AHEs) from living and working near industrial wind turbines (IWTs). Descriptions of the AHEs being reported by those living or working near the turbines are similar. While these occurrences have been associated with exposure to audible and inaudible noise annoyance, the causation of reported wind turbine-associated health effects remains controversial. Establishing an argument of causation of adverse health outcomes has important clinical, scientific, and societal implications. Bradford Hill (BH) criteria have been widely used to establish causality between an environmental agent and risk of disease or disability, but have not previously been used to evaluate the relationship between IWTs and AHEs. The objective was to apply the BH criteria to evaluate the relationship between IWTs and AHEs. The nine criteria include the strength of the association, consistency, specificity, temporal sequence, biological gradient, plausibility, coherence, experimental evidence, and analogous evidence. These nine criteria have been applied to IWT exposure and reported AHEs using peer-reviewed and other published literature that describes clinical, animal, and laboratory studies, testimony and reported experiences, and internet sources. Applying the BH criteria to the IWT-related clinical, biological, and experimental data demonstrates that the exposure to IWTs is associated with an increased risk of AHEs. This analysis concludes that living or working near IWTs can result in AHEs in both people and animals. Our findings provide compelling evidence that the risk of AHEs should be considered before the approval of wind energy projects and during the assessment of setback distances of proposed and operational projects.


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