Posts Tagged ‘wind turbine syndrome’

One of the things the wind power proponents enjoy doing, especially for the urban dwellers who believe that wind power generation is clean and green and inexpensive, is to claim that no one in other countires is having a problem with exposure to industrial-scale wind turbines and the noise and infrasound they produce.


Last month, Denmark announced it is not putting up any more onshore turbines because of the health problems and noise complaints; we know that people in every other country in the world with wind turbines are having problems, too. Now, here is a news release from Australian physician Dr Sarah Laurie, whom we had the pleasure meeting at the recent First International Symposium on the Global Wind Industry and Health Effects.

November 16, 2010

Media Release   

Doctor Advises Clean Energy Council to Admit Adverse Health Effects of Wind Turbines

Former Rural GP, Dr Sarah Laurie condemned a report released by the Clean Energy Council last week as lacking integrity for not admitting  that some rural Australians are indeed becoming very ill, when they live or work adjacent to wind turbines.

“The major issue for families living in the vicinity of wind turbines is noise for extended periods of time leading to chronic sleep deprivation, which itself is associated with all sorts of health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, suppressed immunity, difficulties concentrating and depression” said Dr Laurie.

The Clean Energy Council commissioned SONUS report acknowledged that complaints generally relate to concerns regarding noise and health related impacts.

Dr Laurie is now the Medical Director of the Waubra Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation committed to the independent study of health effects of wind turbines on rural communities.

The foundation is concerned at the absence of any published independent peer reviewed studies showing wind turbines are actually safe in close proximity to people over the longer term.

There is however, mounting evidence across the world that these turbines do cause major health problems, identical to those described by Dr Nina Pierpont and Dr Michael Nissenbaum at an international conference in Canada in October attended by Dr Laurie.

“I have now interviewed over 40  people in rural Australia who have been affected by wind turbines, with the same symptoms”.

“The reality for some neighbours of wind turbines in Australia is that they become extremely unwell.  Some have been forced to leave their family homes, farms and livelihoods as they can no longer work their land.  Others are unable to leave, as their main asset is their house and land, which becomes unsaleable” said Dr Laurie.

The SONUS report states that only a few field studies on noise annoyance among people living close to turbines have been conducted and further investigations have been recommended.

The Waubra Foundation believes there is an urgent need for independent academic acoustic and medical research into this important area before more turbines are constructed close to people’s homes and workplaces.

“We call on the government and the wind industry to commit to funding these independent studies without delay,” concluded Dr Laurie.

Contact Dr Sarah Laurie  08 8636 2051 or 0439 865 914

To contact the North Gower Wind Action Group, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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From the current issue of Lifestyle Hearing, an article by Andrea Graham, audiologist, MSc (sorry it’s not available online but you might see a hard copy at your doctor’s office).
The Great Windmill Debate
Imagine a windmill was placed in your area. You might not think it would affect you–but people in Canada, Denmark, Northern Ireland, Portugal, New Zealand, the UK and the United States are saying otherwise. They are reporting migraines, vertigo, tinnitus, sleep deprivation, memory problems, nervousness, fear, chest tightness or increased heart rate.
Articles about Visceral Vibratory Vestibular Disturbance (VVVD) Vibroacoustic Disease and Wind Turbine Syndrome are appearing in books, newspapers and on websites with increasing frequency. While the effects of intense noise in the range that we can hear are becoming more widely recognized and publicized, physicians and researchers are now concerned that infrasound–sounds that are in the frequency range too low for the human ear to hear–are the cause of these symptoms. They theorize that low-frequency sounds and vibrations emitted by wind turbines may interfere with the ear’s vestibular system, which controls our sense of balance, or may affect heart and lung tissues.
A controversial issue
Wind energy is such a promising source of renewable energy and the reduction of carbon emissions such a worthwhile goal. Should we not be doing everything in our power to encourage alternative energy sources? How can something that we cannot hear be causing a problem? Some experts have noted that sleep deprivation can cause most of the commonly reported symptoms. Are the people complaining about the windmills just not getting enough sleep? Supporters of wind energy also argue that there is not enough valid research to conclusively support medical concerns.
On the other hand, it took years to establish that cigarette smoke was harmful to human health, and residents living near wind farms are not the only people experiencing ill health caused by sound energy. Noise and vibration-related illness complaints can also result from exposure to traffic noise, machinery, generators and air conditioners. There is sufficient research in the aerospace, shipping and trucking industries to validate that other sources of low-frequency sound and vibration can be damaging.
International governments are trying to address concerns by initiating studies and establishing guidelines for appropriate noise limits and locations for large wind turbines. This is not an easy task; factors such as the size of the turbines, distance from residences, local topography, ground cover, atmospheric conditions and existing ambient sound levels must all be taken into consideration.
As Audiologists, we know sound affects different people in different ways and that we are only at the early stages of understanding the complexity of the human response to sound. We need to be conscious of the environmental impact of noise, as well as of carbon emissions. Independent investigation and responsible consultation should prevent us all from tilting at windmills.

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From the current issue of Financial Post Magazine, an article on the new book, Sustainable Fossil Fuel: The Unusual Suspect in the Quest for Clean and Enduring Energy, by Mark Jaccard. Jaccard is professor of environmental economics at Simon Fraser University in B.C.

Jaccard’s position is that oil and all fossil fuels in fact are necessary because they are the most cost-effective energy sources available. With the right set of policies, he says, oil can be a sustainable fuel for decades, if not centuries.

Meanwhile the smart money is looking at natural gas, too which is plentiful. Royal Dutch Shell sold its solar business two years ago, and is now spending 75% of its research on fossil fuels, as opposed to 5% on alternative energy.

“Renewables are a low-density, dispersed and intermittent form of energy and so that can have quite an impact on the land base, even more than an oil sands project, believe it or not,” says Jaccard. “There is no such thing as clean energy. Every form of energy has its impacts and its risks.”

From the FPM article: “For governments, a switch to cleaner energy sometimes means trading off local esthetic interests for the greater good. Wind turbines chew up birds, are blights on the landscape to some and may cause something called Wind Turbine Syndrome, the effects of which include sleep problems, headaches and dizziness. Solar fields and run-of-the-river hydro systems use up a lot of land.

“…One thing is clear: Our future includes fossil fuels… Clean and low-cost energy may not be the panacea it would seem to be.”

The bigger issue, says FPM, is that “oil isn’t the enemy itself. The issue is how wisely we use our resources. And the better we get at building our energy mix, the better positioned we’ll be to use fossil fuels–when and where we need it–for generations to come.”

We agree: wind can NEVER replace coal-fired plants in Ontario; building a more appropriate energy mix would seem to be good advice.

To contact the North Gower Wind Action Group, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

For daily news visit http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com

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