An analysis of the American/Canadian Wind Energy Association report regarding effects of turbine sound on human health
Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects, An Expert Panel Review (A/CanWEA Panel Review) was prepared for and sponsored by the American Wind Energy Association
(AWEA) and the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).
In response, an analysis was conducted by The Society for Wind Vigilance of the A/CanWEA Panel Review. Details of the analysis are explained in this report. For convenience the remainder of the analysis and critique is done in a tabulated format of point - counterpoint. The volume of material necessitated this approach and hopefully will enhance the clarity of the critique being put forward.
The method utilized was to excerpt each of the claims and place it in the context of authoritative and contrary information. In addition an effort has been made to identify the errors of omission as well as those of commission.
The conclusions of the A/CanWEA Panel Review are not supported by its own contents nor does it have convergent validity with relevant literature.
The A/CanWEA Panel Review acknowledges that wind turbine noise may cause annoyance, stress and sleep disturbance and that as a result people may experience adverse physiological and psychological symptoms. It then ignores the serious consequences.
World Health Organization identifies annoyance and sleep disturbance as adverse health effects.
In 2009 the World Health Organization released a peer reviewed summary of research regarding the risks to human health from noise induced sleep disturbance. Some of the adverse health effects documented include fatigue, memory difficulties, concentration problems, mood disorders, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal disorders, impaired immune system function and a reported increased risk of mortality to name a few.
Health Canada acknowledges the health consequences of stress and considers it a to be a risk factor in a great many diseases, such as heart disease, some types of bowel disease, herpes, mental illness and difficulty for diabetics to control blood sugar. It states severe stress can cause biochemical changes in the body, affecting the immune system, which leaves the body vulnerable to disease.
Despite the acknowledgement that wind turbine noise may cause annoyance, stress and sleep disturbance the A/CanWEA Panel Review fails to offer any science based guidelines that would mitigate these health risks.
On the contrary the A/CanWEA Panel Review concludes by suggesting that the authoritative health based noise guidelines of the World Health Organization should be ignored and that wind turbine noise limits be based on public policy.