There have been many claims that turbines cause illness, and probably some people honestly believe that turbines have made them ill. So far as I have been able to find out there is no regulatory, scientific or medical body in the world that supports the view that wind turbines make people sick. It is far more likely that the annoyance, anxiety and fear that some people who live near wind turbines develop leads on to stress and psychogenic illnesses. This is greatly exacerbated by rumour-mongers who tell them they should feel sick if they live near wind turbines and irresponsible and lazy reporters who repeat these stories.
Most importantly, apart from the sound that turbines make, which is not loud, how could turbines make people ill; what could be the mechanism? Some people do find the sound of wind turbines annoying and this causes some people sleeping problems, but of course there are a huge range of annoying sounds in the modern world.
It seems that complaints about nearby wind farms, regarding illness or simply annoyance, are often related to negative feelings about the wind farms. A feeling that a wind farm has somehow violated a person's space can be very important. Psychologists have shown that perceptions are very important in regard to health.
Finally, we must consider the health problems that we will face if we do not build wind farms.
Using this page: some hintsThis and most other of my pages are set out like reference books. There is a contents list at the top of each page and at least one index at the bottom of the page. Use these to find the subject you want, or search to find words or phrases that interest you. Or use Google search; in the box on the right. All may main pages on wind power are listed at the top left of the Wind Home page and most on each of the states' pages.
and was created as a separate page 2010/09/01, last edited 2021/10/17
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Contact: David K. Clarke – ©
Solar panels too?Some people even believe that solar PV panels can cause similar health problems to those claimed to be caused by wind turbines. They say that PV panels produce 'dirty electricity'. Is there no end to human foolishness?
sleep deprivation to a minority of people who live within a kilometre or so of a turbine, and continually hearing and seeing turbines can lead to anxiety in some people, but all the evidence available to the present suggests that turbines do not produce enough noise or vibration to cause physical problems. One could speculate that some people, especially those who don't like wind turbines, would find wind turbine sounds as annoying as others find neighbour's music – so long as it's audible, it's annoying. Being annoyed by unwanted sounds for a long period could lead to anxiety and then to physical symptoms.
In their submission to the Senate inquiry into 'The Social and Economic Impact of Rural Wind Farms' the CFMEU (Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union) make the point that members of their union have not had any problems with illnesses caused by wind turbines in spite of working at very close quarters with them.
Some, or even many, of those who claim that turbines cause sickness would have us believe that there is something coming from wind turbines, other than the sounds that everyone who visits a wind farm can hear, and beyond the low levels of infrasound that acousticians can detect, that makes people sick; and yet they seem unable to tell us what that thing is.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) released a report in July 2010 stating that "there is no published scientific evidence to support adverse effects of wind turbines on health." They confirmed this with a further report (following four years of investigation) in 2014. The Australian Medical Association produced a position paper, also in 2014, agreeing with the NHMRC.
The Victorian Department of Health (DH) (WorkSafe, 2010) has examined both the peer-reviewed and validated scientific research and concluded that "the weight of evidence indicated that there are no direct health effects from noise (audible and inaudible) at the levels generated by modern wind turbines."
Humans are notoriously inclined to believe things without supporting evidence, in particular they have wrongly blamed illness on innumerable supposed causes throughout history. This should make us very wary about carefully looking at the evidence.
Due to the lack of convincing evidence, my own opinion has varied between thinking that it is unbelievable that wind turbines could make people sick to accepting that they might, under some circumstances, make some people sick. (There is nothing wrong with being undecided. I have written elsewhere of the importance of doubt. In fact when the evidence one way or the other is inconclusive we should be particularly careful to not make up our minds. As Bertrand Russell said, "The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the measure of the holder's lack of rational conviction.")
The illnesses claimed to be caused by wind turbines have been grouped together by Dr Nina Pierpont under the name 'wind turbine syndrome'. A report commissioned by the Canadian and American wind industry associations pointed out that the symptoms of wind turbine syndrome are the same as those seen in the general population due to the stresses of daily life.
In his testimony to the Australian Senate Inquiry into the Social and Economic Impact of Rural Wind Farms Mr Ken Andrew McAlpine (Director; Policy and Government Relations, Asia-Pacific Region, Vestas Australian Wind Technology Pty Ltd) pointed out that health concerns about wind turbines are confined to those areas where there are significant lobbies telling people that turbines are making them ill: Australia, in the north-eastern US (where Nina Pierpont comes from), some regions of Canada, and in the UK where the Country Guardians publicises the claims. He said that "In the other countries in which [Vestas] operates this is a very rare thing."
However, sound levels from turbines are much too low to cause the physical damage to hearing associated with loud sounds such as jack-hammers, rock bands, etc.;
After blaming sound for illnesses for some time, the so called Waubra Foundation, the main turbine-illness advocacy group in Australia, apparently decided they were not convincing anyone. So they changed to blaming infrasound for the 'illnesses'.
When the South Australian EPA reported that infrasound levels near wind turbines were no higher than elsewhere, the 'Waubra Foundation' changed to accusing the EPA of corruption and blaming 'pressure pulses'.
Wind turbine noise causes annoyance in some people, but there is very little evidence that it has caused sleep disturbance. Some people find even low levels of turbine noise annoying, as others find low levels of neighbour's music annoying.
Pedersen and Persson Waye surveyed 725 people in the Netherlands (2009) regarding the level of annoyance they perceived from various sources. Their results indicated that the sound from wind turbines was more annoying than similar levels of sound from road, rail and air traffic.
It has been claimed that domestic animals have also been negatively affected by wind turbines: it has been claimed that lambing rates and milk production declined, dogs were made nervous, that the health of honey bees has been adversely affected, but there is no convincing evidence for these claims.
There is no known mechanism by which wind turbines might cause the health problems claimed by wind farm opponents. There is a lack of evidence that sound, audible or infrasound, at low levels is harmful. The lack of a mechanism is a major flaw in the case for wind turbine syndrome. Of course it is quite possible that some people become anxious about the wind turbines and then the anxiety leads to illness (see psychosomatic disorder).
There is reason to believe that some people claim intolerable noise in order to justify compensation for a home that they had previously been unable to sell for a price sufficient to buy in a more attractive area.
A telling paragraph from the Flinders University news release was:
"Of all residents living within 10 km of a wind farm who responded to the survey, only 0.3 percent attributed sleep disturbance to wind farm noise, which was no higher than the rate of sleep disturbance attributed to road traffic or other noise sources (2.2%) and less than sleep disturbance attributed to any other cause (16.1%), such as insomnia."
I've written at greater length on the study elsewhere on these pages.
I have summarised the sections of the WHO report that related to wind turbines and health below. In some cases, when the WHO report made a simple statement, I've quoted direct from the report, in other cases I've interpreted the rather technical and long-winded report into short summaries to the best of my ability.
Section 3.4 Wind turbine noiseTable 36 (page 77 of the report) indicated that (to the best of my understanding):
On sleep disturbance; the evidence was deemed to be of low quality. "Six studies were available; they did not reveal consistent results about effects of wind turbine noise on sleep."
A fair interpretation of the WHO conclusions
The minimum distance that a wind turbine should be from an occupied house is partly a matter of opinion and, since the sound level varies depending on topography and the direction of the wind, is very difficult to place a definite figure on.
In Denmark, the country with the most wind power per capita, the minimum distance between a wind turbine and a house must be four times the total height of the turbine (including blades). A typical maximum height is around 125m (in 2012), so under this rule turbines would not be allowed closer than 500m to a house.
The present (early 2012, Liberal) government of Victoria does not allow turbines to be built within two kilometres of a house not financially connected with any wind farm. The wind industry has stated, quite credibly, that the 13 square kilometre exclusion zones around all houses (16 times that required in Denmark) will effectively put a stop to wind power development in that state. To make a wind farm viable the turbines have to be reasonably close together, if there must be large exclusion zones around any houses then the small and isolated bits of land remaining available for turbine construction may well not be enough to make a wind farm a workable proposition.
There has even been a call for not allowing wind turbines within three kilometres from homes, creating 28 square kilometre exclusion zones; this would probably make wind farms unviable anywhere except the largely uninhabited pastoral districts, the deserts, and off-shore. Wind farms can generally not profitably be built in the Outback because of the lack of power transmission lines and the cost of building them off-shore is about twice that of building on-shore.
It is understandable that people, who do not have direct monetary gain from wind turbines, object to having to occasionally hear them. However the urgent need to move away from fossil-fuelled power generation toward sustainable power generation, so minimising climate change, seems to me to quite justify some annoyance to a small proportion of the population.
inverse square law of physics tells us that sound (and anything else that radiates out from a descreet source) drops off rapidly with distance. This being so, it is very difficult to believe many of the claims made about health effects from turbines at distance. Sound also attenuates at about 5dBA per kilometre due to absorption of the energy by the atmosphere. (See also notes on the dose - response relationship.)
For example, the hamlet of Waterloo is 3.5km from the turbines of the Waterloo Wind Farm. I slept beneath Waterloo turbines on two nights (without any health effects at all, I had a good night's sleep, I measured a sound level of 55dB from the turbines). My distance from the tubines was about 80m. Even neglecting attenuation, the inverse square law tells us that anything radiating from a turbine would be 1900 times as intense at the distance I was compared to in Waterloo. (3500 / 80 = 43.75, 43.752 = 1914)
Yet we are told that people have been driven from their homes in Waterloo by noise and/or health problems!
On both nights I slept at Waterloo Wind Farm I visited Waterloo and listened for turbine noise both in the evening and again in the morning. Only on the first morning did I suspect that I might have been able to hear the turbines; I couldn't be sure. There was a moderate breeze on the ridge where the turbines were, but only a light air in Waterloo; ideal conditions for hearing them.
Study of setbacks internationallyA study of Wind Turbine Setbacks from Residences for the Minnesota Department of Commerce by Katheryn M. B. Haugen showed that in most parts of the world mandated setbacks between wind turbines and homes is 500m or 1km. A figure in this study (Figure 2, page 26) showed no jurisdiction that mandated a setback as great as the 2kms mandated by several Australian State governments. (Scotland mandates a distance of 2km from towns.)
The need for primary research into turbines and health).
There seems no doubt that many people believe they have been made ill by
There are claims that people have moved away from some wind farms
(Cape Bridgewater, Waubra, Toora) because of illness.
"Among the different spectral peaks thus discriminated, the one at frequency 1.7 Hz has associated the greatest power, and under particular conditions it can be observed at distances as large as 11 km from the wind park."(The abstract of this paper can be accessed at Geosienceworld.)
Seismometers are exquisitely sensitive instruments; they respond to earthquakes on the other side of the earth. If the strongest vibrations from wind turbines are, at best, detectable at a distance of 11km then they must be quite undetectable by human senses at distances of hundreds of metres or more from the turbines.
The above paper further stated that studies had detected seismic waves from wind turbines that were above background levels to distances up to 18km. Seismic background is the vibration of the earth that is happening all the time. The earth is constantly quivering at levels that are quite unnoticeable by humans, but detectable by seismometers.
The stance taken by DEA, and the professional standing of the members of the DEA Scientific Committee members (see the box on the right), should be compared to the stance taken by the Waubra Foundation and lack of any research standing of Sarah Laurie.
DEA made a submission (No. 829) to the Senate inquiry into wind power (2011) which included this summary:
Recently the leading medical journal, the Lancet, described the health impacts of climate change as "the biggest global health threat of the 21st century". According to the World Health Organization, climate change is one of the greatest threats to public health and it will affect, in profoundly adverse ways, some of the most fundamental pre-requisites for good health: clean air and water, sufficient food, adequate shelter and freedom from disease.DEA finished their submission to the Senate inquiry with:
On the available evidence, DEA considers that the risks of continuing reliance on fossil fuels for the health of Australians and other people on the planet are considerably greater than those posed by any adverse health effects of wind power development and implementation. Nevertheless, it should be acknowledged that some noise and sound aspects of wind turbines can cause annoyance in a small proportion of sensitive people, and that these should be minimised where ever possible in planning and design. Community engagement and clear information about sound issues are needed from the beginning of the development process.Interested readers should access the whole submission from DEA at the Senate inquiry Net site referred to near the top of this section.
The CAHA released a Position Statement on Health and wind turbines on 2012/01/24. In part the CAHA said:
"To date, there is no credible peer reviewed scientific evidence that demonstrates a direct causal link between wind turbines and adverse health impacts in people living in proximity to them. There is no evidence for any adverse health effects from wind turbine shadow flicker or electromagnetic frequency. There is no evidence in the peer reviewed published scientific literature that suggests that there are any adverse health effects from 'infrasound' (a component of low frequency sound) at the low levels that may be emitted by wind turbines.
The CAHA also submitted a statement to the Senate inquiry into 'The Social and Economic Impact of Rural Wind Farms'; (Submission number 605).
CAHA's membership is a highly credible coalition of organisations:
The Waubra Foundation is a misleadingly named group of wind farm opponents
with very little connection to the township of Waubra and a very
dubious right to call themselves a foundation.
(Also see notes on the so-called
Waubra disease, on this page.)
Ms Laurie provided data on blood pressure and wind turbine operation to the SA Environment Resources and Development Court to justify this claim. The blood pressures were recorded first thing in the morning of a number of days by each of three people living within 5km of the Waubra Wind Farm and related to mean overnight wind turbine generation. The three people involved had clearly elevated blood pressure.
What has been found?If Ms Laurie's claims were factual, there would be a mathematical correlation between higher levels of wind turbine operation and elevated blood pressure recordings.
Professor Gary Wittert of the University of Adelaide, who gave evidence in the same ERD Court hearing, analysed the data and found that there was no significant correlation between the blood pressures and the wind turbine activity. That is, there was nothing in the record of blood presures and turbine operation that was provided by Ms Laurie to indicate that the blood pressure problem was increased when the turbines were operating.
Date/Time: 29 Jul 2011 3:31:16pm
Subject: Anxiety is the key
"For any psychologist who specialises in anxiety disorders it is totally unsurprising to see individuals who are stressed and fearful of the wind turbines also experiencing a range of physical symptoms. Our brain is designed to focus on threat. Once we perceive that something bad, dangerous or threatening is in our lives (or in our immediate environment) we become hypervigilant and aroused. People who are in an anxious state typically experience high startle reflex, insomnia, headaches, nausea, twitches, electrical sensations and various other symptoms. I see them every day. The symptoms described by the affected individuals in the [Four Corners] program are very typical somatic symptoms associated with hypervigilance. Some, like the man who described "a sensation of his heart wanting to leap out of his chest, and just feeling as if he was going to – about to die", are experiencing panic attacks.Doctor Edelman's candid view, as a practicing clinical psychologist, is a very valuable addition to the debate on the causes of the so-called "wind turbine syndrome".
Dr Susie Burke (Senior Psychologist, Public Interest, Environment and Disaster Response, Aust. Psychological Soc. Nat. Office) told me that she agrees with Dr Edelman's comments and that "stress and anxiety are a huge part of the health complaint picture".
Boss wrote of an "anxiety variant [of epidemic hysteria], in which abdominal pain, headaches, dizziness, fainting, nausea and hyperventilation are the most common symptoms". These sound similar to the symptoms of "wind turbine syndrome". Boss continues: "In some epidemics, actual clinical illness in some group members may spread as epidemic hysteria by the transmission of anxiety to groups observing those who were initially ill"; this sounds similar to the spreading of hysteria about wind turbines by people like Dr Nina Pierpont and Sarah Laurie, who condition people to expect to feel ill if they go anywhere near a wind farm.
Boss writes that the characteristics of such illnesses include, among other things, "symptom complex suggesting organic illness but without identifiable cause, no illness among other groups sharing the same environment, illness not related to physical proximity to exposure ...". There is no known mechanism by which wind turbines could make people ill. Very few workers on wind farms, who have much higher exposure to turbines than householders who complain of symtoms, have any problems. Those who would have us believe that wind turbines make people ill often make statements to the effect that the problems are worse at greater distances (against the inverse square law of physics) than close.
"Wind Turbine Syndrome" occurs almost exclusively in English speaking countries. This is to be expected if the cause is some sort of epidemic hysteria because English speaking people hear and read the statements of people like Nina Pierpont and Ms Laurie. There seems to be no counterparts of these rumour-mongers in non-English speaking countries; people don't hear of the alleged illnesses and so don't 'suffer from them'.
I can recommend the book Wind Turbine Syndrome, A Communicated Disease by Professor Simon Chapman and Doctor Fiona Crichton to anyone wanting to learn the facts. It is available in full at no charge from the Internet.
The fact is that, so far as I know, nobody has any convincing, scientifically valid, evidence that there is a link between wind turbines and ill-health beyond annoyance, some loss of sleep in a small minority of people, and anxiety.
The purpose of this section is to show that there have been some valid health concerns associated with substances or industries and some concerns that seem, from all the evidence, to be illusory. The valid concerns were shown to be valid by research at an early stage.
If any reader has information showing that I am wrong on any of the points below I'd be pleased to hear about it (references please); my email address is near the top of every one of these pages.
The alleged illnesses associated with wind turbines have been compared to the illnesses cause by tobacco and people in the wind industry have been accused of covering up the evidence as did the people in the tobacco industry. A rational consideration of the evidence seems to show that the two have nothing in common.
I will give just one example of a false statement in one of the papers published in the journal. In the paper "Wind Turbines Make Waves: Why Some Residents Near Wind Turbines Become Ill", by Magda Havas and David Colling – the abstract starts with "People who live near wind turbines complain of symptoms...". This is not true: it would be true if it stated "Some people who live near wind turbines complain of symptoms...". Most people who live near wind turbines do not complain of adverse symptoms.
Comment by Professor Simon Chapman, Public Health, University of Sydney
Nonetheless, anti-windfarm websites have described the journal as a "leading scientific peer reviewed journal" and the issue as "groundbreaking". In summary, this is a journal which cannot be described as low ranking in scientific research publishing. It is more accurately described as "unranking".
Just to give you some perspective on the above citation rates: in my career, I have published 5 papers which have each been cited more than 100 times; 24 cited between 50-100 times; 36 cited 20-49 times; and 69 cited 10-19 times. This WHOLE JOURNAL (ie all authors) has only 7 papers cited 7 or more times (max 15). It is really the saddest of sad little journals.
Comment by Dr Kenneth Clarke, University of Adelaide
Professor Chapman had also attempted to find out about peer review of these articles; with equally little success.
Quoting from a letter written by Professor Simon Chapman and published in the Brisbane Times...
The British Acoustics Bulletin has just published what is now the 10th independent review of the evidence on wind farms causing annoyance and ill health in people. And for the 10th time it has emphasised that annoyance has far more to do with social and psychological factors in those complaining than any direct effect from sound or inaudible infrasound emanating from wind turbines.The full letter from Prof. Chapman, who discussed many aspects of the psychology behind wind farm opposition, can be read here. The publications page of the publishers of the British Acoustics Bulletin, the british Institute of Acoustics, is here; I would like to have gone to the particular issue of the Bulletin myself, but it is apparently available only by subscription.
The results of an informal poll was published in the Brisbane Times below the letter: the question was "Should state governments embrace wind farm technology?" Of the 2508 votes, 75% were yes, 25% no. Take note SA Liberals.
Simon Chapman, Professor of public health at the Uni. of Sydney wrote "I've collected blank contract forms from Australian companies and none that I've seen contains such clauses."
There are confidentiality clauses in contracts between land owners and wind farmers involving money. Is is standard practice and reasonable that wind farmers do not want the details of exactly how much they are paying particular farmers to become common knowledge.
This physical law has been known since the seventeenth century and applies to things like gravitation, electrostatics, light and sound. It describes how the strength of something like sound decreases with the distance from the source; putting it simply, doubling the distance from the source causes the strength (loudness) to decrease to a quarter, trebling the distance reduces the strength to a ninth, four times the distance a sixteenth the strength, etc.
The inverse square law applies to anything that radiates from a distinct source.
Many of the stories that we hear about the alleged problems caused by wind turbines at considerable distances go entirely counter to the inverse square law.
Does the inverse square law of attraction apply between dogs and trees??
Illnesses and injuries that have environmental causes, such as: nuclear radiation poisoning, microwave exposure from radar installations, ultra-violet exposure, heavy metal poisoning, exposure to carcinogens, snake and spider bite, hearing damage caused by loud noises, and poisoning in general show a dose-response relationship. The greater the dose or exposure, the more serious you can expect will be the illness or damage.
The dosage of anything radiating from a wind turbine would obey the inverse square law of physics. Put simply, if you are twice as far away as someone else, you would receive a quarter the dose that he or she would, and if you were three times as far away you would receive a ninth the dose, in any given period of time.
The graphs on the right are based on simulated, not real, data. Each plot on the graphs represents one person's dose and response. The doses are on the X scale at the bottom. The higher numbers on the 'Level of symptoms' (Y) scale on the left correspond to more severe inconvenience or illness. An explanation of these is given in the 'technical' section below.
The upper graph shows what we observe (wind farm workers close to wind turbines having no symptoms of illness – right plots) and are told by people like Ms Laurie (moderate to severe symptoms in householders at distances up to five or even 10km – left plots).
I have calculated the relative doses that science tells us we could expect at the various distances. The upper graph shows quite the reverse of what we would expect in real life; the workers, who receive the highest 'doses' are unaffected, while the people living further away have, we are told, illnesses caused by the turbines.
The lower graph shows what we would expect if wind turbines really did cause illness. The workers, who receive the greatest 'doses' of whatever might be causing the illnesses (corresponding to the plots at the upper right), would show the most severe symptoms, while those living at greater and greater distances, and receiving lower and lower doses (the plots on the lower left), would show steadily less symptoms.
Technical – rules and data used to create the graphsDefinitions
Unit of dose:
A Unit is the amount of the mysterious and malevolent force said to be coming from turbines. I have defined one unit as the amount 'received' by a person at 1km from a 1MW turbine in 1 hour.
The simulated data
The number of turbines used in the calculation is to allow for the fact that
as one gets further away from an individual turbine there are more turbines
at a similar distance to the nearest one.
For example, the householder at 1000m from the nearest turbine is assumed to
be roughly equally distant from three other turbines; while, because of
the inverse square law, the workers much higher (hypothetical) dose would
predominantly come from the turbine they happen to be close to.
Environmental psychologist Roger Ulrich published an article in Science in 1984. "Ulrich and his team reviewed the medical records of people recovering from gallbladder surgery at a suburban Pennsylvania hospital. All other things being equal, patients with bedside windows looking out on leafy trees healed, on average, a day faster, needed significantly less pain medication and had fewer postsurgical complications than patients who instead saw a brick wall."
The Scientific American article went on to discuss other cases where patients' ability to view or visit gardens improved their medical outcomes.
Being able to view a garden through a window could not have any physical effect on a person's health, but it could make them more cheerful, more optimistic, more relaxed, and then their psychological state could go on an have a physical effect.
People's attitude toward wind turbines is very important in determining how they react to the proposed or actual construction of a nearby wind farm. Most of the people who complain of sicknesses caused by the turbines started with negative attitudes to turbines.
Surely we are seeing a psychological state producing a physical outcome in the wind turbine case, just as seen by Ulrich's team and the other researchers discussed in the Scientific American article.
If a person sees a wind turbine (as I do) as graceful, elegant, an optimistic symbol of a cleaner and better future and finds the sounds that turbines make pleasant and restful (as I do), they are very unlikely to develop any ill-effects from being near turbines. Another person, who has been made fearful of turbines by people like Pierpont and Laurie, or who sees turbines as ugly and industrial impositions into their landscape, is more likely to become anxious and develop physical symptoms from their psychological state.
No sickness from wind
turbines in WA, Tasmania or Europe
This is all strong evidence that so called 'wind turbine syndrome' is largely psychosomatic.
So I contacted Craig Carter of Verve Energy, the company that runs most of the wind farms in WA. Craig informed my by email on 2012/04/10 that
"From my knowledge, supposed adverse health effects due to infrasound from wind farms have not been raised for our wind farm projects and proposals."So far as I know, there are no branches of the Australian Landscape Guardians in WA, and Sarah Laurie has never spread her message there.
The lack of complaints in WA was confirmed in work done by Professor Simon Chapman, Alexis St. George, Karen Waller and Vince Cakic. Chapman et al's paper, "The Pattern of Complaints about Australian Wind Farms Does Not Match the Establishment and Distribution of Turbines: Support for the Psychogenic, 'Communicated Disease' Hypothesis" may be read on Plos One.
GermanyHans Josef Fell, the energy spokesman for the Greens Party wrote:
"The claims of the Waubra Foundation about health effects in a distance up to 10 kilometers are of course totally ridiculous. We have millions of people in Germany living within a distance of 10 kilometers to the next turbine. And tens of thousands who have lived near turbines for up to 25 years without health problems which anybody links to wind power."
I am not sure which health effects you are referring to – so I guess you can take that as an indication of a lack of debate here... There is a small debate on infra sound – but it is not a very active debate. A brief visit to the website of the Danish anti-wind power organisation "Neighbours to wind turbines" ("Naboer til Vindmøller") didn't reveal health effects being promoted as a cause of concern."
On Europe generallyPaul Gipe, the US-based author of Wind Power: Renewable Energy for Home, Farm and Business and five other books on wind power, wrote creatively of his own 'illness':
"Yes, anti-wind hysteria has made me sick. I got queasy in my stomach when I think of the 150,000 wind turbines operating worldwide and still no epidemic of death and disease had yet broken out despite the sickening anti-wind hype in the English-speaking world. I worried myself sick that a new Black Death would strike Germany and Spain who together have one-third of the world's wind turbines. I fretted even more that Europe would collapse in panic and mayhem from its 100,000 wind turbines, many now operating for decades. Why then are Germans, Danes, and Spaniards not falling by the thousands to dementia and disease? Are they made of sterner stuff? Or is it simply that they don't speak English and can't read all the propaganda fostered by the anti-renewables lobby. It is the anti-renewables lobby–it's not just anti-wind anymore, they're after solar too–that makes me sick."
"Another type of evidence is provided by the websites of windpower opposition groups. Although there is no nationwide organisation of windpower groups in Germany, there is a web portal to which 78 groups have been linked. After putting aside the large number of sites that have lapsed, a total of 44 were left. Almost all of these sites are dominated by concerns about landscape and nature protection. As for health effects, about 40 per cent of sites devote only 1 to 2 lines to the subject and only three sites actually treat the subject seriously with more than a paragraph. Almost one-third of the 44 sites made no mention of health effects at all."So, why should we have people becoming ill in the English speaking world and not the rest, unless we are dealing with epidemic hysteria rather than with any illness caused by the wind turbines?
It is important to note that it was wind farm opponents who made up the list, not Ketan Joshi.
Ketan, who is a wind power supporter, then took the 484 organisations and assigned the official spoken language of each country "into the categories 'English' and 'Non-English', and then listed each country by the number of anti-wind groups."
Ketan points out that 91% of al the anti-wind groups listed are in English speaking countries. The top seven countries in the numbers of opposition groups all have English as their primary language.
Max Rheese and the Australian Environment Foundation seem to have confirmed the link between epidemic hysteria and wind turbine 'illnesses'!
Perhaps more interesting was the result in Iowa, the state that leads the USA in the proportion of its energy it gets from wind farms, where only 7% of people accepted that turbines could harm health. The highest proportion believing the claims (21%) was in Wisconsin, "a state which has far fewer wind farms and where some political leaders have in recent years been hostile to renewable and distributed energy".
The very low rate of sick leave in wind farm workers would be very difficult to explain if wind turbines truly made people sick.
If there is something coming from one or another of the main components of a wind turbine making people ill, then why isn't the same part of a car having the same effect?
It is quite possible to calculate the level of effect we should be suffering from our cars, compared to from wind turbines.
Based on the assumption that the components of a car are 1.5m from the person involved, and the wind turbine is one kilometre away, it can be calculated that any effect from the car's fan should be nine times that from the wind turbine fan, any effect coming from the car's generator should be over a hundred times that from the wind turbine generator and any effect coming from the car's gearbox should be more than 20 000 times anything coming from a wind turbine's gearbox.
Infrasound levels too are much higher in a car than near a wind turbine. In an article on the Michgan Land Use Institute Net site Dr. Kai Ming Li said "In a Finnish survey, infrasound levels exceeding 120dB were found in cars and railway engines. The usual range in vehicles with closed windows was 90 to 110 dB." In the Sonus report on infrasound and wind turbines conducted for Pacific Hydro infrasound levels of 67dB(G) and 63dB(G) were recorded at Clements Gap wind farm 185m downwind of the closest operating turbine and at Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm 200m downwind of the closest operating turbine, respectively.
On 2012/09/05 one of the opponents of the Waterloo Wind farm circulated the following email to other wind turbine opponents...
"From: Mary Morris
Sent: Wednesday, 5 September 2012 12:44 PM
Subject: URGENT AND IMPORTANT - SEND NOISE /HEALTH COMPLAINTS TO CLARE AND GOYDER COUNCIL
GOYDER COUNCIL SAYS IT HAS RECEIVED NO WRITTEN NOISE OR HEALTH COMPLAINTS REGARDING THE WATERLOO WIND FARM.
They have the power to shut the wind farm down and get the noise nuisance investigated.
LETS DO IT!!!
Please send in a written complaint to both the Goyder Council and Clare Council
All it has to be is a simple letter stating that the noise and vibration is causing a serious disturbance to sleep and rest, and/or that people are becoming sick – mention elderly and frail people AND children as well especially if this applies to you.
If you have already sent in a letter, send again with a cover note that you wish your submission to be considered as a formal complaint about the effects of the Waterloo wind farm.
Clare and Gilbert Valley firstname.lastname@example.org
Need help?? Let me know"
I have removed the phone number of the sender; originally I had also removed her name, but after it was published in Adelaide Now I saw no reason to not include it here.
How many of the 'health' complaints are actually fabrications by people who simply do not like wind turbines? We'll never know.
Wind farm businesses spend a lot of time and money in investigating complaints. It is a disgrace that at least one person is encouraging others to make noise and health complaints, apparently without genuine cause.
It should be pointed out at the beginning that there is no condition called
syndrome recognised by the medical profession and there is no valid
scientific evidence for the claim that wind turbines make people sick.
What has been called Wind Turbine Syndrome is actually a form of
(Also see Waubra Foundation, on another
THE community of Waubra deserves an apology, writes MARSHA GALLAGHERI recently met people from all parts of our country and was annoyed at the number of times I was asked about Waubra disease.
Waubra disease does not exist.
In my view it is a name dreamt up by the Australian Landscape Guardians group for what has always been known as wind turbine syndrome.
Others followed suit for their own ends, such as gaining publicity for the so-called Waubra Foundation. This group of people owes the community of Waubra an apology for the damage they have done to the town's reputation.
More important, they owe our schoolchildren a heartfelt and public apology for the psychological pain inflicted on them when they and their parents saw full-page ads claiming Waubra disease could make them ill.
Some children panicked every time they had a cold or any other normal childhood illness. It was a cruel hoax and someone needs to be accountable.
Yes, Waubra does have a wind farm, but in a community of more than 500 people only about 1.3 per cent are vehemently opposed to it. The rest are in favour of it or don't mind either way.
Life goes on as it has for more than 100 years in a great community.
We still produce award-winning potatoes, crops, wool and fat lambs. Waubra Primary School is thriving, full of happy, healthy, carefree students.
Yes, local groups such as the CFA, school, kinder, sports clubs, Landcare groups and others receive financial assistance from the wind farm, but that happens any time a large company moves into a local neighbourhood.
It is not "buying" those in it. It is showing appreciation to people for allowing their company to grow and prosper there.
I don't have a problem with Landscape Guardians or individuals who have complaints of ill health or depression that they attribute to the wind farm.
I do, however, have a problem with those who have never lived in Waubra who perpetrated an outrageous lie, tarnished the reputation of the community which, far from being divided and fractured, is a united one full of mutual support.
I believe Waubra is owed an apology and statements that use the name Waubra disease should be retracted.
Call it what it is – wind turbine syndrome – and let Waubra be known for what is it, one of the best farming areas in the country with property prices increasing.
Visit our town and our wind farm. Only then will you know the truth.
While the majority of those opposed to wind power blame infrasound for numerous illnesses, here is someone who holds that infrasound will do you no end of good! Remarkable.
August 4, 2010 in Health and Fitness
[prMac.com] Buenos Aires, Argentina – Announcing that AppTouch, the developers of Sonic Relax, has released their latest update. The Sonic Relax application allows for self give massage and combines vibration with the wonderful benefits of Infrasound. Each session has a routine vibration accompanied with soft, but effective, infrasound frequency that caresses the relaxation zone. That is the Infrasound?, Is a sound frequency below the audible sound by humans (below 20 Hz). The infrasound therapy is very popular in many countries and produces very good effects on the human body:
In fact, the little infrasound that comes from wind turbines is harmless, and I'd be very surprised if the iPhone ap did any good. Unless, of course, it was placibo effect in the latter and nocebo effect in the former.
As shown on the graph on the right interest had dropped from a relative value of around 20 between 2009 and 2014 to five in 2016 and 2017.
(The spike in interest in November 2012 coincided with the release of an Australian Senate report on wind turbines.)
A great deal of harm was done on the way.
People who lived anywhere near a wind farm were lead to believe that the
turbines would cause unpleasant symptoms (a self-fulfilling prophecy by the
nocebo effect) and
the urgently needed introduction of renewable energy was delayed.
By 2020 there was very little of this nonsense remaining. One remnant was a Flinders University study financed by the Abbott government (using poor long-suffering taxpayers' money of course) in a last desperate attempt to find some problems with wind turbines.
The Flinders University study was not trying to find any medical ailment in man, animal or plant, but was using five million dollars provided by the strongly pro-fossil-fuel Abbott government in an effort to find some loss of sleep quality in a few people who lived near wind farms, due to the sounds coming from the turbines.
As I have written in my page on the Flinders University study, after having taken part as a subject in the study, that there is good evidence that the study is seriously flawed.
There seems no limit to the lengths that wind power opponents will go to in an effort to slow the introduction of wind turbines and other forms of sustainable energy generation.
Opposing the development of all forms of renewable energy is, in effect, to support the fossil fuel industries and the enormous harm that they are doing to our shared planet.
Many links are scattered through the text on this page.
There are a huge number of references to be found on the Net, I've
concentrated on a few of the more interesting and relevant ones here.
General informative linksWind Farms and Health from the Australian Medical Association. "The available Australian and international evidence does not support the view that the infrasound or low frequency sound generated by wind farms, as they are currently regulated in Australia, causes adverse health effects on populations residing in their vicinity."
Wind and Health from the Public Health Association of Australia.
Rational Wiki on Wind Turbine Syndrome. Discusses claims made by Pierpont and Laurie.
From 1998 to 2014 there were 49 legal cases against wind power on health grounds; 48 were decided in favour of wind power. Energy Policy Institute; written by Mike Barnard.
The Climate and Health Alliance got together with the Public Health Association of Australia to produce a short video on the very real health risks of mining and burning coal and unconventional gas.
Information suggesting annoyance or adverse health effects from wind turbinesMost of the documents below have been prepared at the request of groups opposing wind farm developments. The case for serious adverse health effects (beyond sleep deprivation in a small minority and anxiety) caused by wind turbines is not proven. As mentioned elsewhere, there is a lack of research published in peer-reviewed scientific journals; the references below seem to me to be among the more credible of those available. I thank Sarah Laurie for bringing some of the below to my notice.
Several papers suggesting adverse health effects from wind turbines have been published in a journal called the Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, but that journal is of very dubious credibility.
A paper by Kawano, A., H. Yamaguchi, and S. Funasaka; 1991; stated...
"Drivers of long distance transport trucks exposed to infrasound at about 115 dB(A) had no statistically significant incidence of fatigue, yawning, sleepiness, vertigo, tinnitus, headache, subdued sensation, hearing impairment, abdominal symptoms, or hypertension when analysed with respect to exposure, work hours, driving hours, and rest hours. 'Exposure to about 115 dBA of infrasound has no effect on humans.'"
AEF confirms link between English and WTS
Australian Medical Association
Blood pressure and turbines
British Acoustics Bulletin
Bulletin of Science Technology and Society
Climate and Health Alliance
Distance and physics
Distance between turbines and houses
Doctors for the Environment Australia
End of the delusion
Environmental causes of illness
Factors other than sound
First Dog on the Moon cartoon
Flinders University sleep study
Gag clauses in contracts
Good and bad infrasound?
Health effects relating to noise
Health problems without wind farms
Health research on farm animals
Health risks from fossil fuels - Links
History of health and noise complaints
Human propensity for false beliefs
Impact factor of science publications
The importance of peer-reviewed science literature
Influence of negative oriented personality traits
Inverse square law
Irresponsible journalists spread expectation of illness
Is your car making you ill?
Invitation to lie?
Letter from Dr Marjorie Cross
Links: Adverse health effects-peer reviewed
Links: Adverse health effects-not peer reviewed
Links: Health risks from fossil fuels
Links: No adverse health effects-peer reviewed
Links: No adverse health effects-not peer reviewed
Local medical practice near a wind farm
Major components of turbines also in cars
Mechanism: how could turbines make people ill?
NHMRC report of 2010
NHMRC report of 2014
NHMRC report of February 2015
No sickness in WA, Tasmania or Europe
Opinion from clinical psychologist
Pierpont WTS and the Brain
Research into fraud?
Research into human gullibility?
Research into infrasound perception-Crichton
Research into wind turbines and health
Seismic waves from wind turbines
Senate Committee on infrasound
Sound, infrasound or pressure pulses?
Sounds are louder in cars than near wind turbines
Survey in Midwest USA
The case against turbines is unconvincing
Turbine noise and sleep disturbance
Turbines and animal health
Two competing theories
Waubra Foundation partiality
What can harm you from a distance?
What external agencies cause illness?
What research should be done?
WHO report 2018
Why you should not believe that wind turbines cause illness
Windfarm workers sick leave
Wind Turbines and health
Wind Turbine Syndrome
Wittert, Prof. Gary; research
Key word indexThis index concentrates on the one most relevant word. Many subjects cannot be indexed by a single word)...
Health Canada's report