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Can wind farms make people sick? Simon Chapman investigates

Simon Chapman, professor of public health at the University of Sydney, has been investigating concerns about the safety of wind farms. He writes:

“Last week Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett were confronted at a Ballarat meeting by angry residents living nearby the Waubra wind farm, 35km north west of Ballarat, run by Acciona.

ABC AM’s report included the following.

‘Belinda Wheel: Mr Rudd, residents are suffering from sleep deprivation, ah, health problems due to wind turbines sited too close to home.

Berni Jannsen: Within weeks of the last ones being turned on I started getting headaches, started getting heart palpitations.

Donald Thomas: Mostly ear pressure, headaches, heart palpitations, high blood pressure.

Samantha Hawley (reporter): Donald Thomas lives about three kilometres from the wind farm.

Donald Thomas: Before the wind mill started operating there was none of this.

Samantha Hawley: Last week the company bought a property from one of its most vocal critics who is now subject to a confidentiality agreement.’

With often clanking windmills having been around for 5,000 years, what are we to make of such claims, particularly since the affected residents were reported as living some 3km away from the wind farm?

Are they calculated displays from a few people seeking to cash in on hopes of land sales or compensation? Do they reflect genuine health effects actually caused by the noise from the windfarm?

Or are they equally genuine health effects caused by residents’ anxiety about the towers?

The noise generated by modern wind turbines at distances between 300-600 metres is generally within 40 to 50 decibels, the equivalent to the sound of light traffic at 50 feet or the sound in a normal living room with ordinary conversation. So at 3km, the turbines would be virtually inaudible. Suggestions that the reported health problems are due to “low frequency” noise or “changes in air pressure” have been made.

A large review of the scientific evidence, commissioned by the American and Canadian wind energy associations, AWEA and CanWEA, is available here.

It concludes “Following review, analysis, and discussion of current knowledge, the panel reached consensus on the following conclusions:

• There is no evidence that the audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects.

• The ground-borne vibrations from wind turbines are too weak to be detected by, or to affect, humans.

• The sounds emitted by wind turbines are not unique. There is no reason to believe, based on the levels and frequencies of the sounds and the panel’s experience with sound exposures in occupational settings, that the sounds from wind turbines could plausibly have direct adverse health consequences.”

The authors discuss the likelihood that the “nocebo” effect comes into play with community concerns about adverse effects producing a worsening of mental or physical health, based on fear or belief in the likelihood of adverse effects.

Dr Tim Driscoll from the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health has a long history of investigating community concerns about various environmental hazards.  He says: “If the people truly are worried about their health (as they may be) or about their property values (as they may be), then they might well become anxious, which in turn might put their blood pressure up, give them headaches and make their heart race.  These are genuine health effects arising from their worry, which in turn arise from the thing they are worried about, even though the thing they are worried about may not objectively be a risk to health.”

Risk communication researchers have long identified elements of risk perception which are likely to amplify community anxiety and outrage about alleged environmental hazards. When a hazard is natural, anxiety is low compared to when it is industrial or artificial. We rarely hear of communities living in windy locations describing symptoms caused by the sound of wind. But with wind farms the sound is artificial. Natural fluoride occurring in water bothers no one, but the same levels added by local governments can incite anxiety.

Hazards that are imposed as opposed to voluntary exposures increase outrage. Skiiers voluntarily expose themselves to high level risk without complaint. But there are legions of examples of extremely low level risks “imposed” on communities that cause mild panics.

Similarly, the “new” can provoke anxiety. Mobile phone towers went through a phase of concerning citizens who daily walked past surburban electricity substations and TV towers without a care in the world.

Wind farm turbines are now generating pathology, but where are the queues of suffering Dutch from living near the sound of traditional windmills?

The fact that the report referred to above was industry funded will undoubtedly cause some to instantly dismiss it as being a snow job by the dastardly wind energy industry. Indeed this is another factor: trustworthy versus untrustworthy sources.

Ideally the wind industry should have given the money to a University and asked it to take full control of the review process, with no involvement by the industry in the selection of  the independent expertise. The wind turbine industry is not exactly an industry with a reputation for mendacity, but trust is fragile commodity.”

Update

Meanwhile, Dr Stephen Corbett reminds us that there is a long and established literature on the threats posed by windmills:

Foretold by Cervantes?

……They immediately come upon thirty to forty windmills that appear as giants to Don Quijote. He tells Sancho that he is going to kill them all; keeping their treasures for themselves and doing God a favor by removing their evil from the earth. Sancho tries to convince his master
that these are windmills, but to no avail as Don Quijote charges at them amidst Sancho’s screaming.

Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Don Quixote see them that he said to his squire, “Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselvescould have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless.”

“What giants?” asked Sancho Panza.

“Those you see over there,” replied his master, “with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length.”

“Take care, sir,” cried Sancho. “Those over there are not giants but windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone.”

-Part 1, Chapter VIII. Of the valourous Don Quixote’s success in the dreadful and never before imagined Adventure of the Windmills, with
other events worthy of happy record.

Related Posts

Comments 56

  1. An interesting piece Simon. The AWEA/CWEA review is a credible but limited a piece of work. By dismissing concerns that aren’t related to traditional health protection issues as “nocebo” effects they’re missing the point. There’s quite a lot implied in statements in the report such as:

    “The resulting stress, fear, and hypervigilance may exacerbate or even create problems which would not otherwise exist. In this way, anti-wind farm activists may be creating with their publicity some of the problems that they describe.” p4-4

    A few health impact assessments have been conducted on wind farm developments internationally. Almost universally the affected populations’ underlying concerns relate to loss of visual amenity and loss of control over their own physical environments, more than issues such as light flicker and vibration.

    A precautionary approach to addressing concerns would be more constructive than a “my evidence trumps your evidence” approach. I know this isn’t as simple as it sounds – investigating siting options and changes to projects almost always involve costs. But it might enable a shift from an adversarial/dismissive approach though, and go some way to addressing people’s concerns about loss of control over their local environments.

    A potentially more useful rapid review of the health impacts of wind energy is available from:

    http://j.mp/c1l1og

  2. Bogdanovist says:

    What would ‘a University’ do with any money devoted to the question of whether wind farms cause heart palpitations at 3km?? On second thoughts this is a good idea, the Uni could spend the money on something useful and a year later present there astounding findings that the notion is nonsense.

    I think you’re a little bit too kind on the community here, we aren’t going to get anything done unless people are prepared to think just a smidge and coddling them that it’s okay to hold irrational notions that cause great harm to the rest of the community does not help.

  3. simon.chapman says:

    Ben, 3km away??!!! From where I sit at Sydney Uni, that would make them around Circular Quay. I could just as easily argue that the flapping of the massive flags on the Harbour Bridge kept me awake at night. Or the sound of trains (about 300m from my house) which I can hear some days.

    In my book this is a candidate to be added to the list of famous mass hysteria episodes (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_hysteria). This sort of NIMBYism is so often the most self-absorbed, small picture nonsense.

    Public health people can elect to sit around holding hands with local communities over their trivial “loss of control” in such instances as or we can point out the cost to the whole community of delaying clean energy development by having to factor in the sensitivities of people who are frightened of any change.

    Someone sent me this earlier today about a report earlier in the year from South Africa:
    http://mybroadband.co.za/news/Wireless/11099.html

    At the meeting Van Zyl agreed to turn off the tower with immediate effect to assess whether the health problems described by some of the residents subsided. What Craigavon residents were unaware of is that the tower had already been switched off in early October – six weeks before the November meeting where residents confirmed the continued ailments they experienced.

    “At the meeting in mid-November residents claimed that full recovery of skin conditions could take as long as 6 weeks. Yet, the tower was switched off for more than 6 weeks by this time,” said Van Zyl. “At this point it became apparent that the tower can, in no way, be the cause of the symptoms, as it was already switched off for many weeks, yet the residents still saw symptoms that come and go according to their proximity to the area.”

  4. john2066 says:

    Typical nimby garbage. The silent majority overwhelmingly support wind farms, Waubra had an open day a few months ago and hundreds turned out to tour the farm. It time we saw through the selfish whining of people who dont want their ‘view’ spoiled.

  5. Simon I agree with you – I’m just explaining where local opposition usually comes from. My sense is that people usually complain about the potential health effects because that’s seen as a legitimate basis for complaint, whereas “I don’t want to look at one of those things” is not.

  6. Doctor Whom says:

    I happen to know someone up at, over at, down at, Waubra.

    No one who is getting an income from the wind farms is getting the mysterious illness. No one who has the illness is getting an income from the wind farms.

    Disclosure: I must admit I get heart palpitations, all sorts of irritations and feel ill for hours afterwards when I listen to bloody Macca on a Sunday morning.

  7. Doctor Whom says:

    On the other hand – the women with the breast cancer cluster at the ABC Brisbane Studios were treated with a bit more care and seriousness.

    But they are part of the ascendency – tertiary educated, professional AND with media access and skills.

  8. After I wrote my last comment I was reminded of a bloke who contacted me a couple of years ago, trying to organise opposition to wind farms in his local area based on his concerns about noise and bird strikes (the issues he raised). After speaking with him for a while it came out that his real concern was that the windmills were being
    built on a neighbour’s property. The neighbour was getting some sort of payment for them (lease or something similar) and the bloke I spoke to wasn’t. He clearly resented this, as he felt he had to bear the downside with no benefits, apart from, and as Simon points out, his lights working.

    It’s worth unpacking what motivates people to protest against wind farms. My sense is that health is usually a lower-order concern.

  9. M Thatcher says:

    The anti-WF groups are well aware that the more vocal they are the more fear and uncertainty they create in communities that were perfectly happy until they moved in with their rent-a-crowds. If you ever attend a meeting of these people take note of where they come. Rarely are they local to the WF they are opposing. Their scare-mongering is what causes headaches and heart palpitations and they well know it; it benefits there cause. As Ben notes above, they can’t just come out and say they don’t like them – that sounds too NIMBY (and dare I say selfish) so they plant seeds of uncertainty and fear. By the way, I’ve been to Waubra and it’s simply not noisy.

  10. Frank Campbell says:

    “Wind farm turbines are now generating pathology, but where are the queues of suffering Dutch from living near the sound of traditional windmills?”

    This is the most childish, anti-scientific piece I’ve ever read on Crikey. And think of the competition.

    Chapman seems utterly unaware of turbine infrasound. Unaware also of the fact that multiple wind turbines cause complex resonances and vibrations which have nothing to do with standard decibel measures. He’s made no effort to examine the growing evidence of serious health effects linked to turbine sound. Relying on wind propagandists is like trusting tobacco companies.

    I doubt Chapman has ever spent time next to industrial wind turbines or “Dutch” windmills (which of course were all over Europe) operating. I’m familiar with both. Traditional windmill noise, for obvious reasons of scale and technology, is nothing like a 140 metre high turbine with a span approaching that of the MCG. That’s right, 80 or 90 metres. With nacelles (turbine housing) the size of a bus. Batteries of them, across the landscape. 128 around Waubra alone. Hundreds more coming soon.

    To patronise sufferers as “nocebo” whingers is insulting. This isn’t mass hysteria, nothing like high-voltage lines or mobile phone towers. Many supported windfarms and even had turbines on their land. They were lied to by the wind companies and the government, who know all about the crippling physiological effects of turbine sound. (And about blade flicker also.) These include tachycardia and other cardiovascular problems, vertigo,tinnitus, migraines, sleep deprivation, nausea, headaches, etc. But extreme secrecy, intimidation, bribery, lying and contractual gagging are standard wind company practice. As the wind fraud is exposed abroad, provincial Australia is being suckered by these carpetbaggers. Driven off the coast, wind spivs now target politically weak, poorer inland areas: western Victoria being the worst affected. The insulation scandal was merely incompetence. The wind fraud is conscious and deliberate.

    Read Pierpont’s book “Wind Turbine Syndrome”, and Paul Etherington’s “The windfarm Scam”, which has a chapter on health effects.

  11. Doctor Whom says:

    Ben – The income from a wind farm is at least $10,000 per machine per annum. And you can still run stock and even crops on the land.

    So you can see that even at only 10 wind turbines you have a guaranteed income of at least $100,000 per year – forever, and you can still farm the land. Whats not to like.

    And as a bonus you can claim the high moral ground as a greenie.

    Theres farmers with windfarms up at Waubra going around talking renewable energy and etc who 10 years ago would have gladly drowned a greenie in a tank of diesel or choked ’em with a brown coal emission.

  12. simon.chapman says:

    Nina Pierpont’s authority on the health issues raised might be considered against her research track record: it appears she has exactly zero publications in the peer reviewed literature, on “wind turbine syndrome”, or indeed on any subject. (go to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ and search for “Pierpont N” — it won’t take long I promise. Stand by for conspiracy theories and Galileo metaphors about how the scientific establishment have all got together and kept her research out the scientific literature.

  13. Doctor Whom says:

    The quoted price in one South Australian area is $8,500 pa income/lease for a turbine.

    I believe that in EU the Energy/Windfarm companies have factored in % payments to neighbours who don’t have turbines and that this has meant that all the locals share in the windfall income. (heh windfall!)

  14. M Thatcher says:

    Does anyone notice a pattern here with anti-WFarmers like Frank? Hostile? Sensationalist? It’s really not helping anyone. If I hear one more person quote “never published Nina” I will gag.
    Calmly show me a doctor who will support the theories and some peer reviewed literature (without the histrionics) and I might just be convinced. ‘Til then….

  15. @Doctor Whom That sounds like a sensible thing to do given the peculiarities of topography mean that you won’t want to put turbines on every property in an area. I think some sort of reduced payment to neighbouring owners with no turbines could be an effective way of minimising opposition.

  16. @Simon Chapman I did as suggested and looked into Nina Piermont’s track record. She doesn’t seem to have gotten any traction in the peer reviewed lit.

    I happened across her website, which referred people to this Victorian ABC Stateline report from last Friday:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2010/02/19/2825235.htm

    This made me wonder, is there an ABC Local reporter/producer who’s getting mileage out of keeping this story going, given the ABC AM story you linked to as well?

  17. Doctor Whom says:

    ben – I think its more than just minimising opposition.

    It seems to me its some acknowledgement that it is an accident of topography that the wind – which is free – is caught say 500 metres from your land and hence you miss out on an assured income for no work.

    It could also be looked upon as compensation if, as alleged, the windfarms lower the price of land adjacent.

  18. Frank Campbell says:

    “Stand by for conspiracy theories and Galileo metaphors about how the scientific establishment have all got together and kept her research out the scientific literature.”

    This is nonsense. No one has kept Pierpont out of anything. Chapman misses the point entirely. Pierpont is similar to the St Helen’s GP who exposed aquatic toxins: it’s a first line of inquiry, generated by apparent clusters of medical problems. I’ve followed the St Helens case for years- they were vilified and ridiculed in the the same manner as we see in this Crikey piece. It’s now been publicised on Australian Story. Much more research is needed, but they’ve proved that a highly toxic plantation compound exists in the water supply. Pierpont is similar- she investigated anomalies.A Johns Hopkins PhD and a pediatrician, Pierpont’s work has been well-reviewed by many scientists. And she’s just one of many who have observed clinical abnormalities which can’t be dismissed as psychosomatic.

    The deeper malaise here, which I see all over Crikey comments (such as here), is a dismissive contempt for peoples’ suffering. It a very macho thing- disparage motives, deny experiences, deny loss. You’re saving the world in the abstract: forget the collateral damage. There are huge financial losses for those near windfarms. None of you urban pontificators would dream of living near a windfarm, would you? None of you ever investigate the claims of wind propagandists critically- you just lambast “nimbyism” and cry “hysteria”.

  19. Moira Smith says:

    There are wind turbines beside Lake George near Canberra now. A few years ago, when they were being mooted, I heard on the car radio some person complaining to talk-back ABC local radio that she bred horses and she objected to the wind turbines on the grounds that (from memory but no crazier than this) ‘noone had proved that they would not upset the mares and stop them coming into foal’.

    This person’s comments were not about current suffering they were about anticipated problems to her business. The implications are obvious, the turbines start turning, a couple of mares fail to get pregnant ….

  20. Bogdanovist says:

    Frank, I love how you assume everyone who disagrees with you must fit your caricatured image of them. We’re not all “wind propagandist urban pontificators who would never dream of living near a wind farm”. You’re also trying the good old tactic of ‘people laughed at X and X turned out to be right. They are now laughing at Y, QED, Y is right’. I think it was Karl Sagan that pointed out that they also laughed at Bongo the Clown.

    The point is that fluid dynamics and acoustics are perfectly well understood areas of science and engineering. We can perfectly well measure every and all effects that wind farm has on air flow, include the amplitude of compression waves (otherwise known as sound) at all frequencies. Being able to measure this, we can determine objectively what disturbances in the air wind farms cause. We can also determine what if any effects such disturbances have on the human body. These things have both been done, and there isn’t a shred of evidence that wind farms could be doing the kinds of things you’re claiming.

    It’s not a matter of being ‘callous and macho’ about those who claim to suffer ill health because of some nearby windfarm, it’s about ensuring that the real cause of someones distress is correctly identified, in order to obtain the best outcome. If someone comes to a Doctor saying that there neighbours new clothesline was giving them a rash, it is not callous and macho for the Doctor to prescribe an appropriate treatment for the rash, rather than grabbing an axe and going after the Hills Hoist.

  21. Frank Campbell says:

    “Being able to measure this, we can determine objectively what disturbances in the air wind farms cause. We can also determine what if any effects such disturbances have on the human body. These things have both been done.”

    They have not been done. That’s the point. The wind spivs and govt. are in denial. As you are.

  22. Gwtg says:

    Picking up some of the threads from above.
    It says in the Intro to the AWEA-CanWEA report that they tried to encourage external bodies to take on the review, but none would. So they decided to form their own panel, of which I was a member (Gwtg = Geoff Leventhall). We were left completely uninfluenced by the industry and left to form our own views of the topic, which pleasurably surprised me, as I was anticipating some attempts to lead us. There were none.

    Part of our interest was in the claims that infrasound from wind turbines causes Wind Turbine Syndrome (Pierpont). Ever since I came across Pierpont in her NIMBY days about 5 or 6 years ago, she has shown a very poor understanding of acoustics, which seriously limits her ability to contribute in this area. Even now, in her book she mixes up vibration and sound.. Many lay people think only in terms of frequency and neglect the importance of level. Think of safe and unsafe doses of medication. Infrasound from wind turbines is well below the hearing threshold and I believe it to be of no consequence, but the hypotheses for the Syndrome are based on this inaudible infrasound upsetting our vestibular systems. Incidentally, the levels are similar to infrasound in all urban environments

    There has been more nonsense written about infrasound than about any other aspect of acoustics – even Hi-Fi. I have spent nearly 40 years trying to undo the harm which the media and others have done to public perceptions on infrasound.

    The basis of the wind turbine syndrome, as given by Pierpont can be easily dismissed. Have a look at the webinar on http://www.windustry.org/glrwei . It takes about 90 minutes to run through.

    However, the symptoms which she describes are real and well known, as they have been for years, to be a result of the stress effects of an unwanted stimulus, which occur in a small number of people. The stressor can be noise, and often is. There is nothing new in the Wind Turbine Syndrome

    There are “Hum Sufferers” who are badly affected by what they describe as a noise, but which usually can’t be measured and they have the same symptoms as Pierpont’s subjects, as do some sufferers of uncontrolled tinnitus. The conclusion is that the Wind Turbine Syndrome is simply the effect of annoyance by noise, which occurs in a small number of people under stress.

    The commonest noise problem from wind turbines is not infrasound, but the fluctuating aerodynamic audible noise – the swish – swish. However, this does not occur in all cases – A survey in the UK a few years ago showed only four out of 130 wind farms had the problem to a disturbing degree and three of these had been fixed. The remaining one, which is dependent on wind conditions, is generally a fluctuation about an average level of less than 40dBA.

    This does not mean that a few people are not badly affected. You have to consider not just [noise], but [noise + person] to gain a clearer understanding.

    Some of my work is on helping people to cope with noise problems, which cannot be solved technically. See http://www.copingwithnoise.org

  23. Bogdanovist says:

    Well Frank, that’s simply a ridiculous claim. All this information would be known by the Engineers doing the fluid dynamics modelling for wind farm turbines. You’d have to know what you were putting out in order to optimise the turbine design. Essentially this comes ‘for free’ as part of the regular design and verification process. It would be like suggesting that car designers haven’t bother to model friction between engine components.

  24. Frank Campbell says:

    The Japanese government has just commissioned a four-year study on the deleterious health effects of wind turbines.

    They wouldn’t be doing that if the science was settled (where have I heard that before?) as Bog claims.

  25. Frank Campbell says:

    You’re missing the point again Bog: I’ve said before that wind companies DO know a lot about the behaviour of turbines. What they avoid mentioning (or minimise) are environmental effects (bird and bat kills for instance) and effects on human health of turbines. Why would engineers give this a thought? Not their brief.

  26. Frank Campbell says:

    GWTG: I think you and Chapman should rent one of the abandoned houses in Waubra for a month.

    “Ever since I came across Pierpont in her NIMBY days…” : I think that sums up your lack of bias perfectly.

  27. Frank Campbell says:

    John Etherington (“The Wind Farm Scam”) has an engineering background. It would be interesting for GWTG to read the chapter on sound/vibration.

  28. simon.chapman says:

    Wow. Turbines sometimes kill birds or bats. So Frank, when can we expect to see you campaigning against cars? I’ve seen rather a lot of road kill throughout my life.

  29. simon.chapman says:

    Frank, I recently spent a holiday in the Languedoc region of France. Every second hill seemed to have turbines on them. Near lots of adjacent villages. I checked them out. Still alive to tell the tale. Should I see a doctor?

  30. M Thatcher says:

    Frank, Frank, Frank… where are the “abandoned houses” in Waubra?
    There aren’t any. People do retire and move off the land (even when there are no turbines) but do let us all know when you can provide adresses for say, 2 houses and that should back-up the “abandoned house” story… Have you actually been to Waubra? It’s certainly not a sad, ghost town full of sick people and abandoned homes that you seem to portray it is.

  31. Gwtg says:

    Frank. Why do you comment on my reference to Pierpont’s NIMBY days? That is exactly how she started about six years ago, when Noble Environmental proposed wind turbines near her home town of Malone NY. She and her husband were the leading objectors, even to the extent of buying space in her local newspaper in order to publish her anti-wind views . Noble asked me to comment on some of these and I have followed her progress from then on. I think that everything which she has published on wind turbines has been self published – including the book. They have been very good at self promotion.

    Her NIMBY past is rather down-played in the book, where she describes herself as having no conflict of interest and that her home town is an unlikely candidate for wind turbines. Part of her “success” is due to having been there when people who were concerned about wind farm proposals needed someone to turn to for advice. She projected herself, playing on her medical background to gather support, and became the objectors’ figurehead. Which is how she remains.

  32. M Thatcher says:

    Also the total number of wind farm families Pierpoint studied was around 10 GLOBALLY if I remember..not quite the robust and extensive research opponents claim there to be.

  33. Frank Campbell says:

    Thatcher (aptly named): We’ve lived near Waubra for many years. You might have guessed that. Luckily our property isn’t threatened by turbines. If Chapman et al are serious, I’m sure we can arrange a house there.

    GWTG: So, you’re officially a wind company consultant. As if it wasn’t obvious.

    To describe someone as a nimby is prejudicial, naturally. I’ve campaigned against the wind fraud for years, but we aren’t threatened- nor will we be, because of the terrain here. So it’s not my backyard, it’s the backyard of thousands of other people not far away. Big windfarms cover hundreds of square kms, as you know (city people generally don’t). Sounds like Pierpont isn’t a nimby- she’s just appalled at what others have to suffer.
    But let’s look at the notion “nimby”: the nature of the corporatist state and of capitalism generally means that the weak are treated ruthlessly. Nothing to do with partisan politics- I’m a Green voter and they’re one of the worst offenders (I note that Bob Brown called for a moratorium on wind turbines in Tamania in 2008, not because any deleterious effects on people, but because of the slaughter of the wedge-tailed eagle. Raptor kills by turbines were well known long before turbines appeared in Tasmania, so Brown was both ignorant and dismissive of the effects on people by supporting them)

    Citizens have no choice but to defend their own basic interests. The nimby accusation exposes the moral rot at the heart of the corporate state. We forlornly expect the state to ensure fairness, if only through compensation for loss- loss caused by the sacrifice of the interests of the few in the wider public interest. It doesn’t matter if the imposition (turbines, desal plants, pipes, whatever) is in fact in the public interest- the locals are stuck with a ‘democratic’ decision. Fine, but justice must then be done. It isn’t. And it’s usually the weakest who are targeted by corporations and the state, as in the wind turbine case. Turbines were kicked off the Victorian coast as soon as politicians (many of whom have beach houses, like Kennett and Bracks in the Otways) and the relatively wealthy residents (many of them middle and upper-middle class Melburnians) realised what the damn things were like. It’s that simple, politically.

    So it’s sickening to hear contempt expressed by the “nimby” put-down. I’m sure all the posters here today would react similarly if their own interests were attacked.

  34. Frank Campbell says:

    To all of you:

    I didn’t bother reading the Pierpont book’s puffery- until now. What I saw startled me. Prof. Lord May, Oxford; Pres. Royal Society 2000-2005, Chief Scientific advisor to the British Govt (1995-2000):

    “Impressive. Interesting. And important”.

    So prejudiced am I by the sleaze on both sides of the climate cult, I instantly thought “oh jesus, another Lord Planckton of Krill”. Just shows how pernicious the cult is… Prof, May is described as being at ‘the forefront of global warming research…and pioneer of epidemiological research”.

    Followed by a string of similar comments by high-status researchers (check them out yourselves you lazy sods) and culminating in a very strange endorsement by the UK “Independent” newspaper, not some nimby reviewer, but the editorial board: ‘an important contribution”, they say.

  35. simon.chapman says:

    So Frank, if it’s such great science, why hasn’t she published it in the peer reviewed literature? With all this praise around, surely it would waltz through. There’s a long food chain of journals where those down near the bottom typically have poor peer review processes and often let through almost anything. Surely she could at least get it published in one of those?

  36. Jon Peters says:

    Some of these comments are complete crappola, to make a statement about the waubra wind farm and not know what’s happening on the ground is ridiculous. People with and without turbines have health issues and the people with turbines are now not happy about the noise but cant speak out.
    The silent majority of people are fully aware that turbines produce little power but intermittent, they are a health hzard and they destroy community cohension.
    The landholders get $7,000 per turbine and take all legal liability for noise, fire and property devaluation, and then have to decommission them at a huge financial loss.
    google waubra wind farm contract or visit http://www.spacountryguardians.org.au for all the info wind companies don’t wnat you to know about

  37. martinjones1 says:

    The wind industry is on its knees and the silent majority know wind turbines are a scam that forces everyone’s power up to support this intermittent junk
    Waubra is a basket case and that was shown on VictorianABC Stateline Friday night.
    Mr Garrett has been warned about the health issues and look oit as rural communities are now longer putting up with this rot.
    go solar and geothermal toss turbines
    The contracts are legal nightmare and the Labor Party will lose seats as a result of their turbine policy. On landholder on 5 acres was brought out last week for over 1.2 million dollars because of health issues

  38. Frank Campbell says:

    Maybe because journal boards are infested with Chapmans and characters like the wind company “consultant” we heard from above.

    There’s nothing easier to rig than peer review- see the climate emails (ALL of them, not the handful taken out of context by denialist trolls like Bolt)

    But why assume she’s interested in publishing in an academic journal? She’s not an academic, and she’s writing for a general audience. Typically, journal articles are read by the author’s mum. Or at least mums claim to have read them…

  39. Frank Campbell says:

    I know this is a radical suggestion, Chapperson, but why don’t you read the book? Settle back with a good cigar…

  40. Frank Campbell says:

    But don’t inhale

  41. peter says:

    Wind farms are a total scam, not just on those effected by them being inappropriatly placed, ie not in line with standards set out by manufactures in relation to the degree of the slope and closness of each turbine to each other that causes vibration and noise.
    wind farms are a con on all electricity paying consumers who pay 3 or 4 times as much for intermittant power so that the inner city spivs can feel good about themselves.
    I know people at waubra with turbines on their land, contrary to what someone else said who have had nothing but trouble, i could even name names, but i wont, but i do know that acciona said bad luck.
    There are many people being effected, dont believe all you hear from acciona, sure those without turbines are speaking out or just plain abandoning their homes (would you do that for no reason?) but there are plenty with them regretting them, and i mean plenty!
    This is not the first time this has happened, look at the Toora windfarm, exact same thing, in canada this problem is massive.
    The so called report done by the Canadian wind mob is a croc, it has no new research at all, its only a report in name, certainly no scientific research of any description and has been discredited in Canada already by locals.

  42. Bogdanovist says:

    Frank, the reason why you need to publish scientific research in a scientific journal is because that is the appropriate forum in which you can detail the precise details of your methodology, data and interpretation in clear technical language (i.e. for an expert audience). By necessity, when you write a book for a general audience you tell more of a story (by which I mean a narrative, not that I’m implying you need to make something up) rather than clinically putting forward all the details in the manner you would in a journal article, such that others can make a clear analysis of exactly what you’ve done, and to check your work.

    This is why a ‘popular science’ book cannot exist on its own, it must be based on work that has already been published in an appropriate forum. There is nothing sinister about ‘peer review’, it’s actually not a process to decide whether a paper is right or wrong, but simply that the underlying methodology is sound and the interpretation grounded in the data presented (I’ve had a number of papers pass peer review, even though the referee stated that they disagree with the conclusions). There is a huge misconception in the general community about how the process works, a misconception you are clearly harbouring.

    By just writing a book, but claiming that the book ‘proves’ some new scientific notion, due to solid evidence and research, you would not allow the actual details to be independently assessed and verified.

  43. Gwtg says:

    Frank. You refer to Pierpont’s referees. In the book she describes them as “all professors at medical schools or university departments of biology” (page 16). Not an acoustician amongst them. However eminent they are in their own fields, they could not be expected to know that Pierpont’s hypotheses on the action of WT sound on the vestibular systems, which she backs with irrelevant or misunderstood references, were unfounded.

    If you look at the dates of the referee’s comments, where the comments are included in the book (page 287), you will see that these are June and October 2008. They saw an early version of the book and there were subsequent changes.

    In particular, Pierpont latched on to a paper by Todd, published late 2008, and manipulated it to support her views, by changing “vibration” to “sound”, She then described it as “direct experimental evidence” supporting her (page 13). Following the splash about Pierpont in the Sunday Independent newspaper, Todd came out and, in a letter to the editor, repudiated Pierpont’s use of his work. She had gone even further on her web page, incorrectly inserting [noise] into quotations from Todd’s paper. That is the level of the “scientific precision” which she claims for herself (Book page12)

    Yes, I have read the book. As I said in an earlier post, she has merely rediscovered that a few people have very adverse reactions to noise, especially if they resent the source. Pierpont rejects any psychological influences, associating these with “malingering” (page 4) and “fabricating” (page 198). I find this astonishing in someone who describes her work as ”behavioural medicine” (page 294).

    But the best bit of the book is on page 252 where, in criticising the work of other people she writes.

    “Let me be emphatic. You can’t start with an implausible hypothesis or a flawed data set and get a result which means anything”

    Physician, heal thyself

  44. Frank Campbell says:

    You just can’t help being patronising, can you Bog, lecturing me about scientific publishing? My comments on her (presumed)intentions stand.

    GWTG: Physician heal thyself indeed, wind consultant. Your bias is palpable. Why don’t join the 4 year Japanese govt study into health effects of turbines, now starting? Call back in four years.

  45. M Thatcher says:

    Frank – you once lived near Waubra? I still do. I am not standing in Melbourne pontificating and I’m not a NIMBY. I just like the whole idea that we need renewables and we all have to give a bit. It’s our turn maybe? Beats a coal mine or no power at all.

  46. Frank Campbell says:

    No Maggie, we still do. Let’s assume you’re right and wind power is beneficial. That doesn’t excuse the fascistic behaviour of govts and wind companies, which trash people’s basic rights.

    One small example: We happened to be driving through the wind plant recently, drove over a crest and there was a car in the middle of the one-lane bitumen road, emergency lights flashing. We thought momentarily there was a wide load coming, but no. This car had a company worker in it and a camera fitted to the roof. We couldn’t get past so drove up to his car slowly and stopped. He stared at us, then drove off the road and around us. We later discovered that they spy on every car driving on the many roads through the 200 sq km of wind plant.

  47. Frank Campbell says:

    Maggie and the rest of you: consider the following

    Michael Trebilcock, Professor of Law and Economics, University of Toronto :

    “Denmark, the world’s most wind-intensive nation, with more than 6,000 turbines generating 19% of its electricity, has yet to close a single fossil-fuel plant. It requires 50% more coal-generated electricity to cover wind power’s unpredictability, and pollution and carbon dioxide emissions have risen (by 36% in 2006 alone).

    Flemming Nissen, the head of development at West Danish generating company ELSAM (one of Denmark’s largest energy utilities) tells us that “wind turbines do not reduce carbon dioxide emissions.” The German experience is no different. Der Spiegel reports that “Germany’s CO2 emissions haven’t been reduced by even a single gram,” and additional coal- and gas-fired plants have been constructed to ensure reliable delivery.

    Indeed, recent academic research shows that wind power may actually increase greenhouse gas emissions in some cases, depending on the carbon-intensity of back-up generation required because of its intermittent character. On the negative side of the environmental ledger are adverse impacts of industrial wind turbines on birdlife and other forms of wildlife, farm animals, wetlands and viewsheds.

    Industrial wind power is not a viable economic alternative to other energy conservation options. Again, the Danish experience is instructive. Its electricity generation costs are the highest in Europe (15¢/kwh compared to Ontario’s current rate of about 6¢). Niels Gram of the Danish Federation of Industries says, “windmills are a mistake and economically make no sense.” Aase Madsen , the Chair of Energy Policy in the Danish Parliament, calls it “a terribly expensive disaster.”

  48. Frank Campbell says:

    well well, the ubiquitous “you’ll learn to live with it” Leventhall:

    Western Mail February 25, 2010.

    Official sanity

    SIR – I echo Jan Morgan’s plea for a moratorium on wind turbine construction (Letters, Feb 18).

    During the recent Institute of Acoustics conference into wind turbine noise in Cardiff, noise vibration and acoustics consultant Dr Geoff Leventhall said there was no doubt people living near the turbines suffered a range of symptoms, including abnormal heart beats, sleep disturbance, headaches, tinnitus, nausea, visual blurring, panic attacks and general irritability (“Turbine noise? You’ll learn to live with it”, Jan 28).

    However the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) website says in its Frequently Asked Questions: “Wind turbines are not noisy.” To compound this view, also on the BWEA website, Dr Leventhall wrote: “I can state quite categorically that there is no significant infrasound from current designs of wind turbines.”

    So surrealistic is all of this that I sometimes doubt my own state of mind. This is now confirmed by Dr Leventhall who said, also at the Cardiff conference, that he is taking part in a Defra project that aims to use psychotherapy to enable sufferers to live with the noise.
    Sanity by courtesy of a government department!

    Dr JOHN ETHERINGTON
    Llanhowell, Pembrokeshire

  49. bryen says:

    Putting windfarms in perspective of GHG emissions is a useful exercise :

    The current installed wind capacity in the Australian National Electricity Market, the NEM, (NSW, Vic, Tas, SA) is 1609MW (1.6GW)

    A generous 35% Capacity Factor (CF) gives :
    0.35CF x 1609MW = 563.15MW
    MWh per year :
    563.15 x 8760 = 4,933,194MWh/year total for the NEM

    To obtain the GHG reduction lets be generous and say it is displacing gas
    at 0.36tCO2/MWh. This is not taking into account Katzenstein and Apt’s recent
    peer-reviewed scientific results which state that this is now an overestimation,
    and NOx emissions may also increase. See : Katzenstein, W & Apt, J, “Air
    Emissions Due To Wind and Solar Power”, Environmental Science & Technology
    (2009) Vol 43 No 2 pages 253-258.

    Also not taking into account the latest research on wind & carbon emissions :
    http://www.masterresource.org/2009/11/wind-integration-incremental-emissions-
    from-back-up-generation-cycling-part-i-a-framework-and-calculator/
    http://www.masterresource.org/2009/11/wind-integration-incremental-emissions-
    from-back-up-generation-cycling-part-ii/
    http://www.masterresource.org/2009/12/wind-integration-incremental-emissions-
    from-back-up-generation-cycling-part-iii-response-to-comments/

    That work expands upon the work of Katzenstein & Apt, and others on carbon
    emissions due to wind. In fact the summary from Part II states :

    “In summary, relative to CCGT plants operating alone with the same capacity as
    the wind plants:

    In the high range of possible annual capacity factors for wind, at 28 per cent, with
    the introduction of OCGT gas plants and reduced efficiency considerations for
    the wind shadowing/backup, the calculator shows that the presence of wind
    results in:
    Almost zero gas savings; and an increase in CO2 emissions of 12 per cent.

    In the low range of possible annual capacity factors for wind, at 20 per cent, the
    above results become:
    An increase in gas consumption of 10 per cent; and an increase in CO2
    emissions of 25 per cent.”

    So in a year for Australian wind farms connected to the NEM there would
    be 0.36 x 4,933,194 = 1,775,949 tons of CO2 saved per year.

    According to UNFCCC :

    http://unfccc.int/files/ghg_emissions_data/application/pdf/aus_ghg_profile.pdf

    Australia’s GHG emissions for 2007 without including LULUCF (Land Use, Land
    Use Change & Forestry) were : 541,178.7 GgCO2 equiv & Reuters have
    reported it at http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSSP11210320080829 as being
    576 million tons. If we include LULUCF the Australian annual figure rises to
    825,884 GgCO2 equiv.

    Lets sit somewhere in the middle of this, ignore LULUCF, and round it to 550
    million tons, and express current NEM connected wind farms contribution as a
    percentage :

    (1,775,949 / 550,000,000) * 100 =

    A grand total of 0.32% reduction of total Australian GHG emissions (not
    including emissions due to LULUCF) from ALL NEM connected wind farms.

    If we include LULUCF :

    (1,775,949 / 825,884,000) * 100 =

    A grand total of 0.21% reduction of total Australian GHG emissions from
    ALL NEM connected wind farms.

    How does that stack up globally for the NEM? According to this source :
    http://www.nextgenpe.com/news/global-co2-emissions/
    the world total CO2 emissions in 2006 were 29,195,000,000 tons
    (1,775,949.84 / 29,195,000,000) * 100 =

    A grand total of 0.006% reduction of global CO2 emissions from ALL NEM
    connected wind farms.

    Hmmmm, thats not much really is it. Bt it gets worse…

    GHG emissions figures can be obtained from ->
    http://www.climatechange.gov.au/en/climate-change/emissions.aspx

    Even with those generous figures I gave above, the % GHG reductions that
    total wind farms connected to the NEM would achieve are not even lifted out of
    the “noise floor” of the +/-3% error of the Australian governments figures.
    According to the section titled “Uncertainty Analysis” on Page 16 of “State and
    Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories 2007″ available at ->
    http://www.climatechange.gov.au/en/climate-change/emissions.aspx
    this states that :

    “Uncertainty is inherent within any kind of estimation. Uncertainty assessments at
    a sectoral level are reported in the National Inventory report. Overall, at the
    national inventory level, the uncertainty of the emissions estimates has been
    assessed at ±3%. While no quantitative estimates have been produced,
    the Department assesses that the uncertainties for emission estimates for these
    inventories, particularly the smaller states and territories, will be somewhat higher
    than for the national inventory. ”

    So really, just exactly what are windfarms doing? piddling around in the noise floor of GHG emissions figures reporting, & apart from syphoning our taxpayers dollars into the coffers of the power co’s ?? putting up the price of electricity and not much else really.

  50. bryen says:

    Simon says : “Wow. Turbines sometimes kill birds or bats. So Frank, when can we expect to see you campaigning against cars? I’ve seen rather a lot of road kill throughout my life.”

    This is a very ignorant statement.

    Unfortunately your comment doesn’t change the realities of the problem. In fact the you fail to understand the real complexities of the issue. i.e. the species that are often killed by cars, cats etc. are not the species that windfarm’s end up killing.

    So getting to the point regarding birds / bats and wildlife. This is often played down by the wind co’s. But scientists who actually understand the issues & have taken the time to submit papers to the very long peer review process beg to differ. Here are just a few of the many examples :

    * Fry, D, / American Bird Conservancy (2007) Testimony of Donald Michael Fry, PHD.
    The House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans Oversight Hearing on:
    “Gone with the Wind: Impacts of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats.”

    Extensive testimony from the Director, Pesticides and Birds Program of the American
    Bird Conservancy. States the failure of collaborative efforts to address impacts of wind
    projects on birds and wildlife. Draws attention to the virtually nonexistent federal and
    state monitoring of wind energy projects. States that bird populations are at great risk,
    especially birds of prey and grassland songbirds. Calls for greater research and the
    need to answer many unanswered questions. Calls attention to the fact that many of the
    birds affected are already declining species, so mortality at wind farms is significant.

    * Carrete, M et al (2009) “Large Scale Risk-Assessment of Wind-Farms on Population
    Viability of a Globally Endangered Long-Lived Raptor”, Biological Conservation
    doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2009.07.027

    Recent research paper looking at effects of wind turbines on endangered long-lived
    raptors. Calls for more research on long term effects of wind farms on wildlife
    populations. Research in this particular study shows that wind farms decrease survival
    rates and hence significantly increases extinction probability. This research also
    suggests that short term monitoring of wildlife impacts is not adequate to assess actual
    impacts of wind farms on wildlife. The negative effects of wind farms could result in
    major impacts in a few decades and jeopordize wildlife conservation worldwide. Requests that turbines in risk zones should be located further than 15km away
    from nests.

    * Baerwald et al (2008) “Barotrauma is a Significant Cause of Bat Fatalities at Wind
    Turbines” Current Biology Vol18 No.16 pages R695-R696

    Confirmation that bats are being killed in large numbers from barotraumas caused by
    rapid air pressure reduction near wind turbine blades.

    * Arnett, E, (2006) “A Preliminary Evaluation on the Use of Dogs to Recover Bat
    Fatalities at Wind Energy Facilities”, Wildlife Society Bulletin 34(5) pages 1440-1445
     Postconstruction carcass searches for bats are used to estimate fatality rates at wind
    energy facilities. Due to variation in detection by human searchers fatality rates can be
    underestimated. This study evaluated the use of dog handler teams at wind farms to
    conduct carcass searches. In the trials it was found that dog handler teams fared better
    than just humans at locating carcasses. This research recommends further study on the
    use of dogs to recover carcasses.

    * Arnett, E, et al (2008) “Patterns of Bat Fatalities at Wind Energy Facilities in North
    America”, Journal Of Wildlife Management 72(1) pages 61–78

    Widespread and extensive fatalities of bats have caused increasing concern about the
    impacts of wind farms on bats as well as other wildlife. This paper presents an overview
    of the research in North America on bat fatalities to date.

    * Kunz, T et al (2007a) “Ecological Impacts of Wind Energy Development on Bats:
    Questions, Research, Needs, and Hypotheses”, Frontiers in Ecology and the
    Environment Vol 5 No:6 pages 315-324

    Summarises evidence about bat fatalities at wind farms in the USA. Identifies future
    research needs to help minimize adverse effects of wind energy development. Calls for
    future research to identify sites with highest adverse environmental impacts. Calls for
    policy framework requiring owners and developers to provide access and research funds
    for research and monitoring.

    * Kunz, T et al (2007b) “Assessing Impacts of Wind-Energy Development on Nocturnally
    Active Birds and Bats: A Guidance Document”, Journal of Wildlife Management 71(8)
    pages 2449–2486
     Guidance paper for researchers, consultants, decision-makers, and other stakeholders
    for methods and metrics for investigating nocturnally active birds and bats in relation to
    utility-scale wind-energy development.

    * Kuvlesky, W et. al. (2007) “Wind Energy Development and Wildlife Conservation:
    Challenges and Opportunities”, Journal of Wildlife Management 71(8) pages 2487-2498

    Covers many aspects of wildlife issues including; collision mortality, habitat loss, habitat alteration, and some of the future research needs.

  51. bryen says:

    For an informed site on industrial scale wind energy problems ->

    http://www.windaction.org/

    &

    http://www.aweo.org/

    & the uk site of choice is ->

    http://www.countryguardian.net/

    also check out this doco ->

    http://web.me.com/thrnotgreen/thrnotgreen/Home.html

    a good doco to open peoples eyes on the real problems of industrial wind. In fact they even interview one of the key researchers who first brought to light the problem of windfarms and birds.

    + one of the people involved, the physicist Dr John Droz’s website ->

    http://www.northnet.org/brvmug/WindPower/articles.html

    & if you think that 3 turbines in a little community aren’t going to be a problem, just have a look here ->

    http://www.windaction.org/videos/24714

    http://www.windaction.org/videos/24713

    http://archives.weru.org/voices/weekend-voices-121909

    http://www.windaction.org/faqs/24737

    &

    http://www.windaction.org/news/24143

  52. bryen says:

    + should also mention a review of the CanWEA report is here ->

    http://www.windaction.org/documents/25058

    I would be interested to here Simon’s comments on the review.

  53. bryen says:

    For our submission to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Rural Windfarms. See ->

    http://parliament.nsw.gov.au/Prod/parlment/committee.nsf/0/9EF8402137A62363CA25762700199733

    & extensive annotated bibliography here ->

    http://parliament.nsw.gov.au/Prod/parlment/committee.nsf/0/CD010AB5ADF1CE9BCA257664000E86DA

    but some specific excerpts relating to health issues ->

    Health Canada (2009) “Health Canada’s response to the Digby Wind Power Project
    Addendum, Digby, Nova Scotia”, Safe Environments Program, Regions and Programs
    Branch, Health Canada. Available on line at :
    http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/health-canada’s-response-to-the-digby-wind-
    power-project-addendum-digby-nova-scotia/

    Document requested by Nova Scotia Department of Environment for Health Canada to
    review the project with respect to human health. Health Canada reviewed the project
    report and commented on noise and health issues, and highlighted misleading
    statements by the developer. In particular regarding health effects they specifically
    remark :

    “The final sentence in Appendix B states that “there is no peer-reviewed scientific
    evidence indicating that wind turbines have an adverse impact on human health”. In fact, there are peer-reviewed scientific articles indicating that wind turbines may have an adverse impact on human health. For example, Keith et. al. (2008), identified annoyance as an adverse impact on human health that can be related to high levels of wind turbine noise. In addition, there are several articles by Pedersen (and others) related to wind turbine annoyance (as referenced below). The relationship between noise annoyance and adverse effects on human health is also further investigated in the manuscript by Michaud et. al (2008).

    • Health Canada advises that this statement be revised to indicate that there are peer-
    reviewed scientific articles indicating that wind turbines may have an adverse impact
    on human health.

    References:

    Howe Gastmeier Chapnik Limited (HCG Engineering). 2006. Environmental Noise
    Assessment Pubnico Point Wind Farm, Nova Scotia. Natural Resources Canada
    Contract NRCAN-06-00046.

    Keith, S. E., D. S. Michaud, and S. H. P. Bly. 2008. A proposal for evaluating the
    potential health effects of wind turbine noise for projects under the Canadian
    Environmental Assessment Act. Journal of Low Frequency Noise, Vibration and Active
    Control, 27 (4): 253-265.

    Michaud, D., S. H. P. Bly, and S. E. Keith. 2008. Using a change in percentage
    highly annoyed with noise as a potential health effect measure for projects under the
    Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Canadian Acoustics, 36(2): 13-28.

    Pedersen, E., and Halmstad, H. I. 2003. Noise annoyance from wind turbines – a
    review. Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Report 5308.

    Pedersen, E. and Persson Waye, K. 2008. Wind turbines – low level noise sources
    interfering with restoration? Environmental Research Letters, 3: 1-5.

    Pedersen, E., and Persson Waye, K. 2007. Wind turbine noise, annoyance and
    selfreported health and wellbeing in different living environments. Occup. Environ. Med.
    64: 480-486.

    Pedersen E. and Persson Waye, K. 2004. Perception and annoyance due to wind
    turbine noise – a dose-response relationship. J. Accoust. Soc. Am. 116: 3460-3470.

    World Health Organization (WHO). 1999. Guidelines for Community Noise. Eds. B.
    Berglund, T. Lindvall, D. H. Schwela. WHO: Geneva.

    Van den Berg, F., Pedersen E., Bouma, J., and R. Bakker. 2008. Project
    WINDFARMperception. Visual and acoustic impact of wind turbine farms on residents.
    FP6-2005-Science-and-Society-20 Project no. 044628: 1-99

    * Pedersen, E, (2007) “Human response to wind turbine noise – perception, annoyance
    and moderating factors”, Doctoral Thesis (Medicine) Inst of Medicine. Dept of Public
    Health and Community Medicine, Göteborg University. Sahlgrenska Academy, Sweden.
    Available on line at :

    http://gupea.ub.gu.se/dspace/handle/2077/4431

    The PhD thesis of Dr. Pedersen is a culmination of a number of papers including those
    cited above by Health Canada and reports key findings on negative health risks of
    industrial wind turbine noise.

    * Minnesota Department of Health Environmental Health Division (2009) “Public Health
    Impacts of Wind Turbines” Report requested by Minnesota Department of Commerce
    Office of Energy Security May 22, 2009. Available on line at :

    http://www.windaction.org/documents/21436

    Health report “white paper” evaluating possible health effects associated with low frequency
    vibrations and sound arising from large wind energy conversion systems (LWECS).

    * McMurtry et.al. (2009) “Community-based health survey, Ontario” Report for Wind
    Concerns Ontario. Available on line at :

    http://www.windaction.org/documents/22261

    “This community based surveillance activity was conducted under the guidance of Dr.
    Robert McMurtry, the Former Dean of Medicine at the University of Western Ontario. The health survey revealed that out of 76 respondents, 53 people now living near different wind power facilities in Ontario reported that industrial wind turbines were having a significant negative impact on their lives. The adverse effects range from headaches and sleep disturbance to tinnitus (ringing in the ear) and depression.”

    Some excerpts from the abstract of the report gives a summary of the responses to the survey :

    “It is now emerging that whenever industrial wind turbines have been located near
    peoples’ homes, family members are reporting adverse health effects. Some of these
    families have been forced to abandon their homes in order to protect their health. This
    phenomenon is occurring world wide, not just in Canada.”
    “Researchers and victims have reported altered living conditions, loss of enjoyment of
    homes and property, and ill health as a result of industrial wind turbines. The adverse
    health reports are consistent globally and across 3 continents.”
    “Major wind turbine projects were launched in 2006 in Ontario and within a short time,
    reports about ill health started to appear. In January, 2009, Wind Concerns Ontario
    solicited volunteers to conduct a health survey. Distribution of the community-based self
    reporting health survey started in March 2009.
    The findings of the health survey were presented on April 22, by Dr. Robert McMurtry,
    former Dean of Medicine at the University of Western Ontario, to the Ontario
    Government’s Standing Committee while it was examining Bill 150, the Green Energy
    Act. With the efforts of volunteers and a nominal budget from donations, the health
    survey revealed that out of 76 respondents, 53 reported at least one adverse health
    effect they suspect is related to industrial wind turbine exposure. The average number of
    symptoms per individual reported was 5.
    The health survey is ongoing and as result the number of 53 victims has since risen to
    86 as responses continue to be submitted.
    Sleep disturbance was the most common complaint. Other health complaints include
    inner ear problems, mood disturbances, cardiac arrhythmias, and headaches. Several
    suffered acute hypertensive episodes which are most serious and worrisome.
    Comments provided by respondents are both revealing and disturbing. No authority or
    compassionate member of our society can ignore the moving descriptions of the victims’
    experiences. They describe disturbed living conditions, loss of quality of life and
    enjoyment of their home and property, financial loss and the negative impact to the
    health of their families, including children. These comments are included in this report.
    This community-based self reporting survey fills a void regarding the lack of a Canadian
    vigilance and surveillance program for industrial wind turbines. The willingness of the
    victims to participate in the survey serves to reinforce the critical need for a robust
    vigilance program which encourages victims to self report suspected adverse health
    effects from these industrial wind turbines. In addition, long term surveillance is required.
    There are unanswered questions about infants, children, and the unborn whose mothers
    are exposed, family members and workers such as farmers and technicians who live
    and work in close proximity to the wind turbines.
    When uncertainty exists and the health and well-being of people are potentially at risk, it
    is appropriate to invoke the precautionary principle. Until these authoritative guidelines
    are put in place based on the best available evidence, the Province of Ontario ought not
    to proceed with any further development of industrial wind turbines.
    The development of these guidelines must be based on a rigorous epidemiological
    evaluation of the adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines.”

    Nissenbaum, M (2009) “Affidavit of Michael A. Nissenbaum, M.D.” State of Maine
    Board of Environmental Protection re : Record Hill Wind Project. Available on line at :

    http://www.windaction.org/documents/23332

    Affidavit by Dr. Michael Nissenbaum submitted in support of an appeal filed with Maine’s
    Board of Environmental Protection against a proposed project that will include 22
    industrial scale turbines sited in Roxbury, Maine. Dr. Nissenbaum asserts that industrial
    wind turbines can cause adverse effects on human health.

    * Northern Maine Medical Center (2009) “Health Concerns and the Need for Careful
    Siting of Wind Turbines” Press Release March 4, 2009

    Medical Staff of Northern Maine Medical Center unanimously approved this press
    release and requested a moratorium on “wind farm” developments. Three excerpts from
    this press release :

    “We echo the concerns of the Medical Staff of Rumford Community Hospital as regards
    an increasing body of literature and reports from Canada, the USA, and particularly from
    Europe suggesting that the deployment of industrial wind facilities in close proximity to
    places where people live, work or attend schools results in negative health effects,
    including and especially sleep deprivation and stress.”

    “These effects arise not only from audible noise frequencies but also from persistent
    inaudible low frequency noise waves of a cyclical nature which are felt, but not heard.
    There are a growing number of scientific observations and studies suggesting that
    people living up to 2 miles away from these industrial wind farms may be affected.”

    “In light of these growing, serious medical concerns, we propose a moratorium on the
    building of any such “wind farms” until more research is done on the health impact that
    such facilities will have on the communities surrounding such technology. These
    communities and the Maine DEP and Health Services must be allowed time to study and
    learn from the European and Canadian experiences, as well as from the many affected
    families in Mars Hill, Maine, and put into place appropriate regulations and ordinances,
    prior to expanding the wind industry in the State of Maine.”

    Hanning, C, (2009) “Sleep Disturbance and Wind Turbine Noise” Self published (June
    2009) available on line at :

    http://www.windaction.org/documents/22602

    Hanning’s is one of the most recent health reports pertaining to sleep disturbance from
    industrial wind turbines. Dr Christopher Hanning MD founded, and until retirement, ran
    the Leicester Sleep Disorders Service, one of the longest standing and largest services
    in the United Kingdom, and has 30 years of experience in the field.

    * Phipps, R (2007) “Evidence of Dr Robyn Phipps in the matter of the Moturimu wind
    farm application”, Testimony before the Joint Commissioners in the Matter of the
    Moturimu Wind Farm Application, New Zealand. Available on line at :

    http://www.windaction.org/documents/14619

    Extensive testimony by Dr Robyn Phipps and evidence presented of a peer reviewed
    survey of visual and noise effects experienced by residents living near the Taraua and
    Ruahine ranges wind farms. Of the households surveyed in the analysis 80%
    considered that the wind turbines were intrusive and 73% thought that they were
    unattractive. Over 52% of households located between 2 to 2.5km and 5 to 9.5km
    heard wind turbine noise, and 25% could hear wind turbine noise greater than
    10km from the wind farm. There are many more disturbing findings in this survey.

    * Harding, G, Harding, P and Wilkins, A (2008) “Wind turbines, flicker, and
    photosensitive epilepsy: Characterizing the flashing that may precipitate seizures and
    optimizing guidelines to prevent them” Epilepsia 49(6) pages 1095-1098

    * Castelo Branco NAA, Alves-Pereira M. (2007) “In-Home Wind Turbine Noise Is
    Conducive to Vibroacoustic Disease”, Second International Conference on Wind Turbine
    Noise, Lyon, France.
    The definitive paper on Vibroacoustic Disease (VAD) as a result of exposure to low
    frequency wind turbine noise pollution.

    * Castelo Branco NAA, Alves-Pereira M. (2004) “Vibroacoustic disease”, Noise & Health
    2004; 6(23): pages 3-20

    * Alves-Pereira, M & Branco, N (2007) “Industrial Wind Turbines, Infrasound and Vibro
    Acoustic Disease (VAD) PRESS RELEASE”, May 31, 2007 Center for Human
    Performance, Portugal. “The Center for Human Performance is a civilian, non-profit
    organization dedicated to research in vibro-acoustic disease. CPH was founded in 1992
    and has been the organization which coordinates all the different teams that work on
    vibro-acoustic disease research, and that include (in Portugal) the cardiology and
    pulmonary departments of the Cascais Hospital, the neurophysiology department of the
    National Institute of Cancer, the department of human genetics of the National Institute
    of Public Health, the department of speech pathology of the School of Health Sciences
    of the Polytechnical Institute of Setúbal, among several others over the past 25 years.”

    A brief excerpt from the VAD press release :

    “These results irrefutably demonstrate that wind turbines in the proximity of residential
    areas produce acoustical environments that can lead to the development of VAD in
    nearby home-dwellers.”

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