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Leading Professor warns about the health dangers of pylons including sleep disturbance, fatigue, headaches and nausea

Dr Alun Evans of Queen’s University Belfast writes that a review of 18 wind turbine health studies concluded that all showed good evidence of causing human distress. Irish planning guidelines for wind energy development are based on the UK’s which are nearly two decades old and relate to the small turbines of that era. Today’s wind turbines are massive and noisier so a 500 metre setback from dwellings is woefully inadequate.

An Irish Mirror campaign to stop huge wind turbines and ugly power pylons from scarring the countryside is getting results.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly is considering tighter restrictions on how close to houses the structures can be built.

And An Bord Pleanala recently dealt a serious blow to a number of State companies when it turned down proposals for the country’s biggest wind farm in Co Mayo.

This newspaper is campaigning against Eirgrid’s plans to erect up to 1,500 pylons as tall as 60m across 700km of Ireland as part of a €3billion network upgrade.

And we want to halt the 2,000 new wind turbines up to 130m high – two and a half times the height of Liberty Hall in Dublin – proposed for the country’s beauty spots to provide the power.

Today a leading professor and medical doctor joins our campaign.

Dr Alun Evans, Professor Emeritus at the Centre for Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast, writes here about the health impacts of wind turbines.

A century ago, a Nobel Prize winner predicted: “One day man will have to fight noise as fiercely as cholera and plague.”

Since then the levels of environmental noise have doubled each decade.

This is now being exacerbated by the widespread introduction of wind farms, which produce unwanted sound, particularly at night in quiet rural areas.

Irish planning guidelines for wind energy development are based on the UK’s which are nearly two decades old and relate to the small turbines of that era.

Today’s wind turbines are massive and noisier so a 500 metre setback from dwellings is woefully inadequate.

Wind turbines generate noise we can hear, typically as a whoosh, and infrasound, which we cannot hear.

Infrasound is generated each time a rotor blade passes the supporting tower, creating very low frequency, high intensity pressure pulsations which travel long distances and can bend.

It may be inaudible but it can be registered by the brain, inducing distress in a sizeable minority of people. This may be due to sensitisation to it or a genetic susceptibility.

A recent systematic review of 18 wind turbine health studies concluded that all showed good evidence for an association with human distress eg, sleep disturbance, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, nausea, changes in mood, inability to concentrate.

In 2009 the World Health Organisation reported: “Many people have to adapt their lives to cope with the noise at night.”

The young and the old are particularly vulnerable: hearing in young people is more acute and, in older people, a loss of hearing of higher sound frequencies means that the low frequencies assume greater prominence.

Thanks to its impulsive, intrusive and incessant nature wind turbine noise causes sleep disturbance and deprivation.

Sleep-deprived children suffer memory impairment and a tendency to become overweight, leading to adult obesity and diabetes.

Adult sleep deprivation invites a host of problems: poor cognition, accidents, and an associated loss in brain volume.

Quite short periods of sleep deprivation alter the expression of hundreds of genes involved in many vital bodily systems, which might explain its role in adult cardiovascular disease (CVD) and even some cancers

CVDs include heart attacks, stroke and heart failure which could be induced through rises in blood 
pressure during periods of disturbed sleep.

In one study the benefit of adequate sleep equalled the protective effect of not smoking cigarettes. Given that cigarette smoking is such a potent risk factor for CVD, this result is striking.

Wind turbines also collapse, throw off blades and ice, pollute, and sometimes catch fire. They induce stress and psychological disorder from blade flicker, which also has implications for autism and certain types of epilepsy.

The planning process, with its virtual absence of public consultation, is stressful, as is the conflict between those who benefit 
and those forced to endure the consequences.

These include loss of property values, and fuel poverty driven by spiralling electricity costs, which also impinge on health.

Wind developers’ blandishments, that theirs is a benign industry with no adverse health effects, looks rather like cynical opportunism.


Source: http://www.irishmirror.ie/n...

MAY 28 2015
https://www.windaction.org/posts/42766-leading-professor-warns-about-the-health-dangers-of-pylons-including-sleep-disturbance-fatigue-headaches-and-nausea
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