Over the years there have been many skeptics and fear mongers claiming the ill effects of wind turbines on health and coining the term ‘wind turbine syndrome’. Many studies have proven that there are no mechanisms or reasons to believe that wind turbines could cause anyone harm.
A blog I recently came across does a phenomenal job of outlining all the reasons why it does not seem possible for a wind turbine to create any negative health effects on humans.
Here is an excerpt from the blog post entitled ‘Wind Turbines and health: a page of Wind in the Bush’:
Why you should not believe that wind turbines cause illness
There are a number of reasons why nobody should believe the claim that wind turbines cause illness. (Follow the given links if you want to see evidence supporting the arguments.) Wind turbines do cause some annoyance, noise problems and probably a loss of sleep in a few cases.
- Science: There is nothing in respectable peer-reviewed scientific journals indicating a direct link between wind turbines and ill-health. If wind turbines really were making people ill it would not be difficult to do research to provide convincing evidence of this; such research has not been done (or has failed). In addition to the peer-reviewed literature science depends on rational argument – the points below show that it is irrational to claim that turbines cause health problems;
- Cause: There is no known mechanism by which turbines could make people ill. There are very few things known to science that are undetectable to our senses yet can cause us harm from a distance – wind turbines produce none of these. (Levels of infrasound from wind turbines are much too low to be harmful);
- Dose: There is little, if any, correspondence between a person’s exposure to wind turbines and their likelihood of reporting symptoms. The intensity of anything radiating from a wind turbine must decrease with distance according to the inverse square law of physics. The claimed illnesses are just as likely to occur at larger distances rather than smaller: they show no dose-response correlation, which is quite counter to the science of epidemiology.
- Selectivity: The great majority of people are unaffected and the alleged cases of illness are almost all in people who get no financial benefit from the wind turbines and in those who started with negative opinions about turbines. Farmers who are receiving lease payments and wind farm workers hardly ever claim a health problem with turbines. The ‘problems’ are largely confined to English-speaking countries (because that’s where the publicity has been).
- Legal cases: From 1998 to 2014 there were 49 legal cases against wind power on health grounds; 48 were decided in favour of wind power. (See Energy Policy Institute; written by Mike Barnard.)
- Symptoms: While I have no expertise in the field, I believe that the symptoms usually associated with wind turbines are those of anxiety-related disorders (see Opinion from a clinical psychologist);
- Car analogy: Wind turbines have three main parts: a fan, a gearbox and a generator. Our cars have the same parts. Sound levels at all frequencies are much higher in cars than near wind turbines. How many of us think that our cars are making us sick?;
- My own experience: I have visited many wind farms on many occasions and have even slept beneath operating wind turbines five times. I have never heard sounds from the turbines loud enough to be unpleasant. I have never felt any ill-effects that might be ascribed to infrasound or any other emanations from the turbines.
The fear and anxiety toward wind turbines that is instilled in some people by irresponsible rumour mongers and unethical or ill-informed journalists may lead on to psychosomatic disorders. These people are largely to blame for the epidemic hysteria around wind farms that we are seeing in some English speaking countries.
I have kept all the links included in this piece as additional points of reference, if you’d like to read this whole post in its entirety, I strongly recommend! You can find it here: http://ramblingsdc.net/Australia/WindHealth.html
So why are there still handfuls of people who claim that they are experiencing health problems as a result of wind turbines? There is a placebo effect that could be taking place. If you tell someone they look sick or feel sick enough times, their mind can start to believe it and make them actually feel this way. It’s anxiety, it’s psychosomatic, and yet it’s still real.
An interesting study we covered in a previous post outlines what can happen to people when their minds believe something strongly enough.
There is a possibility that wind turbines cause some people a level of anxiety that makes them feel ill, despite the physical structure and output of wind turbines causing no actual harm to anyone.