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Debate over the ill effects of wind turbines on health

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) studied the purported ill effects of the wind turbines on health before reporting that there was no evidence that the turbines' low frequency noise or shadow flicker made people ill. ...Campaigners against the farms are still not convinced.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) studied the purported ill effects of the wind turbines on health before reporting that there was no evidence that the turbines' low frequency noise or shadow flicker made people ill.

Wind power has become the most supported alternative sources of power. In Australia, this has been encouraged by the introduction of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act in 2000 and the Renewable Energy Target Scheme in 2009.

Campaigners against the farms are still not convinced. The residents of Waubra in Victoria's south-west who live near the state's largest wind farm are protesting that the noise and shadow flickers are worsening their headaches. According to another report received by one of the residents from Noise Measurement Services, there is a link between the low frequency noise from wind farms and adverse health effects. The resident says, "Anything from 1 to 20 hertz can cause adverse health effects and that is what we have found in a pulsing motion. It is a pulsing motion that makes the effects just a lot worse."

These complaints had followed the NHMRC rapid review. Director, Professor John McCallum... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) studied the purported ill effects of the wind turbines on health before reporting that there was no evidence that the turbines' low frequency noise or shadow flicker made people ill.

Wind power has become the most supported alternative sources of power. In Australia, this has been encouraged by the introduction of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act in 2000 and the Renewable Energy Target Scheme in 2009.

Campaigners against the farms are still not convinced. The residents of Waubra in Victoria's south-west who live near the state's largest wind farm are protesting that the noise and shadow flickers are worsening their headaches. According to another report received by one of the residents from Noise Measurement Services, there is a link between the low frequency noise from wind farms and adverse health effects. The resident says, "Anything from 1 to 20 hertz can cause adverse health effects and that is what we have found in a pulsing motion. It is a pulsing motion that makes the effects just a lot worse."

These complaints had followed the NHMRC rapid review. Director, Professor John McCallum said evidence from all over the world was gathered for the report. He explained, "Shadow flicker is the flicking on and off of wind turbine shadows as the blades rotate. It is the glint off the surface of the blades and those are now minimized by treatment of the blades that prevents reflective glint as well, and they are the kind of four main areas that people talk about health effects from." He also assured that the World Health Organization (WHO) studies have found no reliable evidence that sound below the hearing threshold will produce physiological or psychological effects. He however explained that anxiety regarding the ill effects of the turbines could be the real reason behind the symptoms. But he also assured that noise levels of the farms will be further tested.

The report says:

•"While a range of effects such as annoyance, anxiety, hearing loss, and interference with sleep, speech and learning have been reported anecdotally, there is no published scientific evidence to support adverse effects of wind turbines on health.

•The situation is ... complicated by findings that people who benefit economically from wind turbines were less likely to report annoyance, despite exposure to similar sound levels as people who were not economically benefiting.

•The sound level from a 10-turbine wind farm at a distance of 350 meters was placed at 35-45 dBA. Based on these figures noise levels from wind turbines have been assessed as 'negligible,' that is, they appear to be no different to that found in other everyday situations. Further, a survey of all known published results of infrasound from wind turbines found that wind turbines of contemporary design, where rotor blades are in front of the tower, produce very low levels of infrasound."

The National Environment Protection and Heritage Council has met in Darwin today to consider national wind farm development guidelines. The Democratic Labor Party has also come together to check on the impact of these farms on health. It was in 2009 that the State Government announced that three of its departments including WorkSafe would look into the matter. But according to Democratic Labor Party member for Western Victoria, Peter Kavanagh, the department did not do its job. He said, "What I've heard back is the Government did a very perfunctory investigation which amounted to asking someone who's allegedly got some expertise in the matter, whether a wind farm is dangerous or not, and they told that it wasn't...There are all sorts of factors that can affect how wind farms affect other people...All of these sorts of factors would influence the effect of turbines and I think they should be studied properly...It should be a high priority for every government to make workplaces as safe as they reasonably can be."

WorkSafe in defense has said that there are no published studies to support the health concerns.


Source: http://www.news-medical.net...

JUL 7 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/27074-debate-over-the-ill-effects-of-wind-turbines-on-health
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