Cardiologist’s Investigation and Response to Industrial Wind Turbines in the Rural Residential Countryside

W. Ben Johnson, M.D.|December 7, 2020
IowaImpact on PeopleNoise

This important report written by a cardiologist provides a critically important, fact-based review of what he's learned and witnessed regarding the impacts of industrial wind turbines on human health. The executive summary and purpose of the report are provided below. The full report can be downloaded from this page. Windaction wishes to extend its special thanks to Dr. Johnson for taking the time to prepare this report.

Executive Summary

While ongoing for decades, more recently recorded consecutive years of rising oceans and mean global temperatures with increasing patterns of intensifying storms and fires have only heightened Man’s resolve to fundamentally change worldwide dependence on fossil fuels. We are now responding with a sense of urgency. “Renewable” energies, particularly wind and solar, among other renewable sources, have been promoted as “winning solutions”. Photovoltaic (solar) energy has become more affordable and is utilized more in sunnier locales. Commercially, beginning in northern Europe, Industrial wind turbines have, over three decades, spread rapidly across the globe. With increases in size to achieve increased power generation capacity, they appeared in the U.S. initially as a novelty but have been rapidly proliferated without a “proper introduction”. Seemingly simple and intuitively harmless in design and implementation, when placed too close to human habitation, serious problems have occurred. It is as though we “leaped before we looked”.
I am a Cardiologist who specialized in heart rhythm problems and I am providing a personal statement primarily focused on the adverse health effects (AHEs) arising from industrial wind turbines (IWTs).

Purpose of this Manual

In this manual, I have collected information – first for myself - to clarify and resolve my questions and concerns. As the answers became evident (though admittedly difficult to find, clarify and integrate), the story of how this “intrusion” happened became clear and I share it with you. This manual will hopefully later serve as a resource for all who will question what health risks (as known in 2020) may be associated with living close to industrial wind turbines. This information took several years to collect. The process by which Wind Industry acquires county permitting is “rushed through” in literally only several weeks making this information, given that inconsiderate timeline, virtually unobtainable.

In this manual, I present evidence supporting my opinion that Industrial Wind Turbines (IWTs) will cause adverse health effects when located near residential properties in formerly quiet rural residential communities. Beyond the potential serious health implications… we all need to fully understand and reflect carefully on the full implication of what these behemoth oscillating blades mounted high on towers will do to our personal and social and environmental communities.

I present relevant aspects of IWT-generated noise - including noise classification and its quantitative labeling through frequency and decibels measures and types of weighting through various filter types and how accurate noise exposure quantification is affected by filtering choices. The unique characteristics of IWT noise are reviewed and compared with other environmental noises. I will review the categories of noise frequencies across the entire range of emission of IWTs and important aspects of noise propagation and attenuation. Please view the table of contents for contained subjects; ALL of these subjects are relevant. The reader must NOT stop at the simple debate of “he said vs she said” about health impacts. I found the answers largely in what “wasn’t said” and past “acoustical history” and current corporate behavior. 

I will highlight important historical events that add to the context of today’s IWT regulation. For example, we need to be fully aware that VERY in-depth evaluations were done in the mid-1980s by NASA and the Dept of Energy-funded research. Scientists (N.D. Kelley, et. al.), in their thorough (basic science-level) investigations, were asked to evaluate the potential possible implementation of IWTs for adverse impacts. Their focus was on understanding the physics of wind turbine operation and energy production. They also studied noise types produced by IWTs and observed and reported on the first confirmed cases of adverse health effects that developed with IWT prototypes up to 4 MW in generating capacity. Their initial determinations of ILFN and associated serious AHEs were first raised then and remain relevant to this day, although ignored by Wind Energy and its proponents. Also revealing is the history of acoustical evaluation of health-impacted occupants of some newly erected buildings from the 1970s to 1990s that was characterized as “sick-building syndrome”. 

Recognized in affected subjects, were similar symptoms connected to working near gas-fired turbines. Careful evaluations confirmed that ILFN from indoor HVAC (heating/cooling units) produced the symptoms. Fortunately, buildings can be re-designed, defects in air ducts fixed, and additional sound insulation placed, but the only way to eliminate ILFN from IWTs is to turn them off or distance them from residents and their property far enough away that the ILFN can no longer be heard nor “perceived”.


20 12 07rev Johnson Impact Of Wind Turbine Noise In Rural Residential Mason County

December 8, 2020

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