Documents filed under Noise
BACKGROUND: Over the past two decades, the increasing and unregulated production of infrasound and low frequency noise (ILFN, ≤200 Hz) has led to a considerable rise in associated noise complaints and health-related issues. The most recent of such ILFN sources are industrial wind turbines (IWT). Acoustical field-data was collected within a home located in the vicinity of IWT, to which the AUC Rule 012 and its requirements were applied. In Ontario, IWT noise complaints were gathered under the Freedom of Information legislation. Goal: To explore the usefulness of current noise control rules when protecting human populations against ILFN generated by IWT.
The pilot study carried out in Satakunta and Northern Ostrobothnia in Finland shows that the damage caused by infrasound from wind power plants will only decrease significantly more than 15 kilometers away from wind turbines. The study was carried out by the Finnish Association for Environmental Health (SYTe) in the spring 2016. A portion of the study's results is provided below. The full report (in English) can be found at the document links on this page.
Audiologist Dr. Jerry Punch, a professor emeritus in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, submitted comments in regard to a wind energy facility before the Ohio Power Siting Board. Dr. Punch's comments focus on the impacts of wind turbines noise on human health. A portion of his comments are provided below. His complete letter can be downloaded at the links on this page.
This important paper examines the highly touted Health Canada study that looked at wind turbine noise and its impact on human health. The authors cite serious limitations of the Health Canada methodology and the failure of Health Canada to honor its original intention of releasing the raw data for other researchers to confirm and test Health Canada's findings. Readers are encouraged to read this paper closely before accepting the reported findings of the Health Canada study.
Dr. Riina Bray, the Medical Director of the Environmental Health Clinic at Women’s College Hospital, Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and former Chair of the Environmental Health Committee of the Ontario College of Family Physicians submitted this letter to the Premier of Ontario, The Honorable Doug Ford, addressing the health concerns related to wind turbines. The letter is provided below. The full letter including all references can be accessed at the links on this page.
This important letter to the Town of Falmouth (Massachusetts) explains how the relocation of the Wind 2 turbine would result in continued noise violations. The author, Robert Rand, an acoustician experienced in turbine noise, warned that the turbine would need to be situated at least 2923 feet from the nearest neighbor in order to remain in compliance with governing noise regulations. The letter is posted below and accessible by clicking the document icon on this page. The supporting evidence is included with the document.
ABSTRACT: This review considers the nature of the sound generated by wind turbines focusing on the low-frequency sound (LF) and infrasound (IS) to understand the usefulness of the sound measures where people work and sleep. A second focus concerns the evidence for mechanisms of physiological transduction of LF/IS or the evidence for somatic effects of LF/IS. While the current evidence does not conclusively demonstrate transduction, it does present a strong prima facia case. There are substantial outstanding questions relating to the measurement and propagation of LF and IS and its encoding by the central nervous system relevant to possible perceptual and physiological effects. A range of possible research areas are identified.
This important paper has found living close to wind turbines "is negatively correlated with self-rated environmental quality of life and physical health quality of life." The finding is consistent with other studies cited in the paper. The authors also found that turbine noise alone is not the only factor. Other factors may include "visual sight, vibrations, shadow flicker, sub-audible low frequency sound, or mechanisms that include individual subjective experiences and attitudes towards wind turbines." The results of the paper are posted below. The full report can be downloaded by clicking the links on this page.
This important letter by acoustician Stephen Ambrose explains how two separate court decisions, one in Massachusetts and the other in Michigan, together provide clarity on what the minimum protective noise limits should be when siting industrial wind energy facilities. Mr. Ambrose's letter includes links to the two decisions as well as supporting background information. The content of the letter is shown below. The original can be downloaded from this page.
This important decision by US District Court Judge Thomas L. Ludington addresses two arguments proffered by the wind industry. The first relates to the industry's argument that noise standards for limiting turbine noise emissions that are based on Lmax are not reasonable. The second discusses the argument that restricitve ordinances, in this case an Lmax noise limit, are de facto exclusionay zoning. Judge Ludington takes both claims on and finds the wind company's arguments are without merit. A portion of the decision is provided below. The full decision can be downloaded from this page.
This new report examines how locations where industrial wind turbines were erected near residences experienced measurable upticks in suicide. The researcher identifies three indirect tests of the role of low-frequency noise exposure including those most vulnerable to the noise, prevailing wind direction and potental of greater noise impacts, and turbine noise resulting in sleep deficiency. The abstract and conclusion of the paper are provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
FINLAND. Aunio Group Oy from Oulu has developed a device for measuring and recording infrasound produced by wind turbines. The measurement equipment can be used to produce research data for investigating the characteristics of infrasound and where it spreads, and to analyze any health problems it may cause. The infrasound produced by wind turbines differs from infra-sounds occurring in nature; according to measurements the infrasound produced by wind turbines is a clear signal - distinguishable from ambient noise in the environment. This paper describes the method of evaluating the Anuio Group's device and the results. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
In November 2014, Health Canada released the results of its $2.1 million “Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study.” Despite public anouncements from Health Canada that the raw data originating from the Study would be made available, the data continues to be inaccessible making it impossible to validate the conclusions drawn by Health Canada researchers. For example, HC found high levels of annoyance but concluded no association to turbine noise.
The purpose of this paper is to explain and evaluate the metric by which the community response to wind turbine noise is gauged and the limits appropriate to that response function. Chapter II deals with selection of the metric, and Chapter III presents the data and methods used to establish criteria and a criterion, based on the metric selected. The abstract of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This important study has identified flaws in the current compliance testing for wind turbine noise and further outlined the methods necessary for identifying and measuring the low-frequency, pulsation that isoften times reported by those impacted by the turbines. Specifically, the "presence of amplitude modulation in the low frequency region, that modulates at an infrasound rate, at or near the threshold of hearing" has been identified and may support the symptoms reported by Dr. Nina Pierpont in her work, Wind Turbine Syndrome. The introduction and conclusion of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This important paper examines the issues surrounding wind turbine noise emissions, the impact of the noise on residences nearby, and how public health professionals have failed to closely examine legitimate complaints. The abstract of the paper can be found below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The findings of this study demonstrate that infrasound near the hearing threshold may induce changes of neural activity across several brain regions, some of which are known to be involved in auditory processing, while others are regarded as keyplayers in emotional and autonomic control. In other words, sound that is not audible can still trigger a response in the human brain.
NextEra's Golden West Wind Energy Center sited in El Paso County, Colorado was required under the County permit to conduct a noise impact study after the project was placed in service in October 2015. Acoustician Robert Rand was asked by residents living near the turbines to review the noise impact study as prepared by NextEra consultant, Epsilon Associates. Mr. Rand's report, included here, identified several material errors with Epsilon's report and also found that the project appears to be operating outside the noise limits permitted by the County and the State. The Golden West Wind Energy Center consists 145 1.72-megawatt GE turbines for a total installed capacity of 249.4-megawatts Mr. Rand's executive summary is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the document icon on this page.
These papers document an important debate between wind-friendly academics who argue that those living near wind turbines benefit from the experience and those who insist such conclusions are backed by inappropriate study methodologies and broad assertions that cloud actual findings. In this circumstance, Dr Daniel Shepherd a PhD in psychoacoustics and head of research at AUT University in Auckland, New Zealand, challenges the methods and conclusions of Mroczek et al.’s “Evaluation of Quality of Life of Those Living near a Wind Farm“ published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2015, 12, 6066–6083. The academic editors of the Journal, after granting Mroczek the opportunity to respond, agree with Shepherd's main criticisms. In total, there are four papers documenting this debate; three are attached to this page. These include Shepherd's critique, Mroczek's response and the position of the Journal's academic editors. Portions of the response by the Journal's editors are also provided below.