Studies to investigate wind turbine syndrome


wind farm turbines

Australians living near wind farms will soon know if wind turbine syndrome could be making them sick.

The National Health and Medical Research Council has awarded two grants totalling $3.3 million to enrich the evidence-based understanding of the effects of wind farms on human health.

NHMRC funded research at the Flinders University of South Australia will explore relationships between noise from wind farms and effects such as annoyances and reduced sleep and quality of life.

Research at the University of New South Wales will investigate the broader social and environmental circumstances that may influence the health of people living near wind farms.

Researchers on the second investigation, from the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, plan to run two trials, one in the lab and another in homes, investigating the impact infrasound—inaudible sound that emanates from turbines—has on the individual.

“This is a hotly-debated area, with many residents convinced that their health is suffering and other people sure that it’s all a figment of their imagination,” says respiratory physician and UNSW Professor Guy Marks, who is chief investigator on the Woolcock Institute-led project.

“There is a genuine scientific question here that needs to be solved definitively so we can inform both the public and public policy.”

Australia is home to more than 75 wind farms housing about 2000 turbines. AGL’s Macarther Wind Farm in Western Victoria is the largest, followed by TrustPower’s Snowtown project in South Australia, completed in 2014.

With the growth of wind farms has come a rise in complaints from residents living nearby who report experiencing headaches, dizziness and sleep disturbances which they attribute to the turbines.

The symptoms, which also include nausea, tinnitus and irritability, are referred to collectively as wind turbine syndrome (WTS), a medical state they link to infrasound.

“As of yet, there’s no proof that WTS actually exists, as all the research available is seriously flawed,” Prof Marks says. He says those who experience it are certain that it’s affecting their health, and report convincingly that the problem disappears when they go on holiday and returns when they come home.

“On the other hand, there are several experts who firmly believe WTS symptoms are the result of a ‘nocebo effect’, where a person becomes certain something harmless is making them sick,” Prof Marks says.

“In other words, their health problems are triggered by the individual’s dislike of the turbines, rather than from any sound emanating from them.”

Prof Grunstein was a member of the NHMRC reference group and is intimately acquainted with WTS research to date, and he says the jury is still out on the issue.

“As far as I’m concerned the science isn’t settled yet,” he says. “It’s important to find out, for the sake of the communities and interests involved.”

If the trials reveal no link between wind turbines and health, the find will help policy makers respond to public concerns. If a link is found, it would likely lead to policy changes and vindication for the many whose claims of wind farm illness have been widely derided.

“Regardless of what we find, there will be passionate advocates that will never be convinced of our conclusion,” Prof Grunstein says.

“That’s not our focus though. We’re out to provide answers to a genuine and very important scientific question and that’s what we’re going to do.”

NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso says that further research is needed to explore the relationships between wind farms and human health.

“Existing research in this area is of poor quality and targeted funding is warranted to support high quality, independent research on this issue,” says Prof Kelso.

“To address this, we need well designed studies conducted by excellent researchers in Australian conditions.

“These grants directly support the Australian Government’s commitment to determine any actual or potential effects of wind farms,” Prof Kelso says.

 

These grants are awarded in response to the 2015 Targeted Call for Research into Wind Farms and Human Health, following the release of the NHMRC Statement: Evidence on Wind Farms and Human Health.

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6 Comments

  1. Jim Wiegand
    23/03/2016

    Another study? This fraudulent game has been going on for decades. This industry has known about their infra-sound problem for over 3 decades. Studies from this terrible industry are nothing but a stall tactic and when they finally do come in they are not even close to being scientific. In the meantime this fraudulent industry just keeps on building their eagle killing monsters. The public need to wake up to this ongoing corruption. Think about it, if this industry and your government were truly ethical, there would be a moratorium until the results came in. The fact that this is not the case clearly shows everyone the corruption and collusion they are up against.

    • schneids
      25/03/2016

      Thanks for that contribution Jim. There’ll be another cheque in the mail from the coal industry anytime soon.

      • Jim Wiegand
        26/03/2016

        I do research for the eagles and other species being slaughtered off by this fraudulent industry. I receive no money for my work. To suggest I receive money from the coal industry speaks volumes about your lack of good character.

  2. Richard Mann
    23/03/2016

    Here is a “time line” showing the history of Wind Turbine Noise problems,
    going back as far as 1979. Each entry provides documentation:
    cdn DOT knightlab DOT com/libs/timeline/latest/embed/index.html?source=0Ak2bgr7C0nhPdGR3S1lEekU3T3p4ZDhUNDdRV2Y2ZkE&font=Bevan-PotanoSans&maptype=toner&lang=en&height=650

    1979 “First complaints received from a dozen families within a 3km radius of turbine”.
    1981 “Wind turbine operation creates enormous sound pressure waves”
    1982 “Closed windows and doors do not protect occupants from LFN”
    1982 “NASA research on human impacts provided to wind industry”
    1985 “Hypothesis for infrasound-induced motion sickness”
    1987 “Wind industry told that dB(A) unsuitable to measure LFN emissions from wind turbines”

    2004 “Wind industry knows noise models inadequate” (from Vestas)

    2011 “Vestas knew that low frequency noise from larger turbines needed greater setbacks”

  3. Shane Oneil
    23/03/2016

    The old nocebo call ,, a pathetic attempt by a small man in Sydney to support the wind industry. . Completely debunked by the gare family (pretty sure that was their name) whom were receiving 200k per annum for hosting turbines but found their home became uninhabitable from sleep deprivation. . Start with them as it has to be pretty bad if that amount of cash isnt enough..

  4. Jim Wiegand
    26/03/2016

    For me being a wildlife it is very apparent that the wind industry creates whatever paperwork is needed to secure profits. As a result the public has not a clue
    about the true impacts to wildlife (eagles) from wind turbines.

    From my years of research into the wind industry I have discovered that the last
    scientific mortality study conducted by the wind industry was over 30 years
    ago. This study was conducted by a competent ornithologist named Michael D.
    McCrary. In 1986 he came forward with his results. From his research using
    daily searches with a 50 meter radius around small turbines, he estimated an
    annual mortality rate of 6,800 birds or 34.5 fatalities per MW, a rate more
    than 12 times what the industry is currently reporting.

    “McCrary, M.D., R.L. McKernan, and R.W. Schreiber. 1986.
    San Gorgonio windresource area: impacts of commercial wind turbine generators
    on birds, 1985 data report. Prepared for Southern California Edison
    Company. 33 pp”.

    For those that embrace this fraudulent industry keep in mind that every wind
    project operating today in America, has been permitted by using bogus research.

    Everyone should read my articles to find out why the wind industry must lie to prosper. My articles expose this fraudulent industry and clearly explain to readers how this industry is hiding most of theirslaughter of protected species through rigged research. Below are several of them:
    “Dead
    Eagles: Buffet/Berkshire/PacifiCorp Don’t Want You to Know (Part 1 and 2) ,
    “The voice of dead eagles”

    parts1, 2, &3 (with quotes from former FWS agents), “Exposing the wind
    industry genocide” and Hiding”Avian Mortality”: Where ‘Green’ is
    Red” parts 1& 2. Part 1 explains how the latest Audubon related Altamont studies were rigged.

    For those interested in learning about the disappearing golden eagle population
    in CA this is a good article.

    READER’S EDITORIAL: FEWER THAN 500 GOLDEN EAGLES REMAIN IN CA

    Read about the confessions of a wind industry employee and unreported dead
    eagles in the “The Wind Tech.”

    Lastly
    for information about the endangered species being killed by wind turbines in Hawaii since 2007 and
    the covered-up, this is a good

    story “Hawaii
    windmills take a toll on endangered animals”. Make sure to read my
    comments about their rigged data that concealed far more of these endangered
    carcasses.

    “Dead
    Eagles: Buffet/Berkshire/PacifiCorp Don’t Want You to Know (Part 1 and 2) ,
    “The voice of dead eagles” parts1, 2, &3 (with quotes from former
    FWS agents), “Exposing the wind

    industry genocide” and Hiding”Avian Mortality”: Where ‘Green’
    is Red” parts 1& 2. Part 1 explains how the latest Audubon related Altamont studies were rigged.

    For those interested in learning about the disappearing golden eagle population
    in CA this is a good article.

    READER’S EDITORIAL: FEWER THAN 500 GOLDEN EAGLES REMAIN IN CA

    Read about the confessions of a wind industry employee and unreported dead eagles in the “The Wind Tech.”

    Additional hidden eagle carcass information and dismal wind energy production numbers are available for congress in this 2 part article “Clean Energy Producers Act of 2015 (H.R. 493): Eagle Slaughter Amnesty for Industrial Wind”.

    Lastly for information about endangered species being killed by wind turbines
    in Hawaii since 2007 and the covered-up, this is a good story “Hawaii windmills take a toll on endangered animals”. Keep in mind the true number of endangered species is many times higher because rigged data collection methodology concealed far more of these endangered species carcasses.

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