Despite science, wind turbine sound sparks discussion in Wisconsin

The topic of wind turbine sound and human health came up again this week in Wisconsin, with the Green Bay Press Gazette and a few other news outlets carrying stories about turbines in the Glenmore area and a discussion by the Brown County Human Services Committee of their health effects.

Let's briefly review the bidding:

The credible peer-reviewed science, and various government reports in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the U.K. refute the claim that wind farms cause negative health impacts.

Most recently, earlier this month wind energy got a clean bill of health from a panel of independent experts established by the Massachusetts departments of Environmental Protection and of Public Health. The agencies definitively stated that “There is no evidence for a set of health effects, from exposure to wind turbines that could be characterized as a "'Wind Turbine Syndrome.'" The detailed analysis also noted that “the strongest epidemiological study suggests that there is not an association between noise from wind turbines and measures of psychological distress or mental health problems.” More specifically, “available evidence shows that the infrasound levels near wind turbines cannot impact the vestibular [inner ear] system.”

An abundance of information on the various government and private reports that have come to similar or identical conclusions can be found in the articles below and the links they provide. But the important thing to remember is this: because wind power displaces emissions of air pollutants and toxic materials like mercury, its effect on public health is strongly positive. 

Related articles:

Massachusetts clears wind of health effects after independent experts review evidence, January 20, 2012
Opinion: Dr. W. David Colby: Turbines and health, December 2, 2011
Canadian researchers: No direct link between wind turbines and health, November 29, 2011
Wind power: A quiet solution to climate change, June 27, 2011
Sierra Club Canada 1.1: Time to confront anti-wind fear campaign, June 15, 2011
Environmental Defence (Canada): 'No basis' for health impact claims, June 6, 2011
Sierra Club Canada: Time to confront anti-wind disinformation campaign, June 3, 2011
WINDPOWER report: New study finds minimal low-frequency and infrasound impact from wind turbines, May 25, 2011
Does the sound of money soothe Wind Turbine Syndrome?, April 25, 2011
WHO guidelines on sound are … guidelines, March 28, 2011
Scientists, doctor weigh in on wind and health, November 30, 2010
Wind turbine sound: The neighbors speak, March 18, 2010
Expert panel concludes wind turbine sounds not harmful to human health, December 15, 2009



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