Wind energy turbines and sound exposure in the audible and IFLN range: high evidence for severe health disturbances according to current studies

Thieme|Ursula Bellut-Staeck|September 7, 2022
GermanyEuropeImpact on LandscapePollutionImpact on PeopleNoise

This important technical letter reports on several peer-review studies that identified measurable harm to humans and animals living near large wind turbines harm as a result of noise emitted by the turbines. The letter also examines a study that found a large amount of bisphenol present in turbine blades. These bisphenols "are not covalently bound to the polymeric structure, from which with time, or due to physical and/or chemical factors such as heat and acidity, can be gradually released into the external environment, contaminating water, soil and sediments, and later the rest of the agrofood chain." The full letter, translated into English using Google Translate, is provided below. The letter, including reference links, can be accessed at the document links on this page.

The current international study situation confirms a high level of evidence of serious health disorders due to noise exposure in the audible and ILFN range when living and working in the vicinity of wind turbines as well as environmentally harmful microplastic abrasion of the rotor blades.

In the following we will review the state of the art to show that the picture of the impact of wind turbines on health and the environment is completely different from that presented by Koch et al. shown [1]. The conclusion is a moratorium, at least for onshore wind turbines, to better define non-hazardous distances to local residents.


1. We refer to the current, peer-reviewed analysis by Dumbrille et al. "Wind turbines and adverse health effects: Applying Bradford Hill's criteria for causation" [2].

The Bradford Hill criteria are the internationally recognized standard for assessing a causality between an environmental medical stressor and health disorders. They are made up of the following 9 criteria: strength of association, consistency, specificity, temporal profile, biological gradient (dose-response), plausibility, coherence, experimental evidence and analogous evidence. The main conclusions of the study are:

• Across all continents, the same pattern of complaints could be shown in chronically exposed persons.

• Reports of negative effects on animals, which are known not to show any nocebo effect and which live close to wind turbines, resulted not only in stress reactions, but also in also negative effects on fertility, development and reproduction. Reports from the USA, Canada, Denmark, Japan, Portugal, France, Taiwan and Great Britain indicated teratogenic and mutagenic effects (see Appendix Dumbrille et al.).

• With regard to the "dose-response" criterion, analyzes showed a demonstrable deterioration in the mental performance of residents living within 1.4 km of the wind turbine(s) and those outside Radius.

• From the conclusions, important questions arise about the determination of a cumulative dose of sound, including infrasound and low-frequency sound (ILFN) for adults, the elderly and especially fetuses and small children.

Dumbrille et al. summarized their extensive analysis of literature data and studies as follows ("IWT" — industrial wind turbines; "AHE" — adverse health effects):

"The BH criteria represent an important tool for determining cause between an environmental exposure and a health outcome (i.e., disease or disability) in a scientifically rigorous manner. The criteria are far more stringent than the Precautionary Principle, which the WHO (1999) provides as the environmental management principles on which government policies, including noise management policies, can be based [...]

Applying the BH criteria to the IWT-related clinical, biological, and experimental data demonstrates that the exposure to IWTs is associated with an increased risk of AHEs. This analysis concludes that living or working near IWTs can result in AHEs in both people and animals. Our findings provide compelling evidence that the risk of AHEs should be considered before the approval of wind energy projects and during the assessment of setback distances of proposed and operational projects."

Since the Bradford Hill criteria represent an accepted and high-quality medical standard for assessing an environmental medical stressor, there is an urgent and supreme precautionary obligation on the part of public corporations and private wind energy companies the people and animals who live and work near wind turbines.

2. We refer to a recent judgment of a French court of appeal of July 8th, 2021, which, based on an expert report, determined a change in the state of health of residents of a group of wind turbines:

"The "Cour d'appel de Toulouse", a French court of appeal, made a higher court decision with a now published judgment of July 8, 2021 and overturned a judgment of the "Tribunal de Grande Instance". It proved that the clerks who live in the vicinity of 6 wind turbines were right and determined that the operation of the turbines at a distance of 700 m to 1300 m led to health problems . The court found the typical symptoms: headache, painful pressure on the ears, dizziness, weakness, tachycardia, tinnitus, nausea, nosebleeds and insomnia. After a corresponding examination, the Court of Appeal stated in its judgment that the Kleiger suffer from the so-called wind turbine syndrome, which can be traced back to low-frequency noise and infrasound. It awarded them a claim for damages of €128,000.

The decision may also have significance for German legal practice, even if there is no legally binding effect." [3]

3. We draw attention to the environmental impact of abrasion from the rotor blades of wind turbines recently reported by Solberg et al. [4] where they describe quantitatively. These statements from the report speak for themselves: 

"Already in 2013, rotor blades from wind turbines accounted for 27% of Europe's consumption of epoxy. Depending on production method the epoxy in rotor blades contains as much as approx. 33% Bisphenol A. Nevertheless, there is remarkably little available information on microplastic emissions from turbine blades. [...] And an estimated annual emission of micro plastics of approx. 62 kg per year per turbine. [...] It is important to note that the wear on rotor blades is exponential. Erosion Rate is exponential to Impact Speed ​​or Impact Energy [...]. New and larger turbines will have far greater mass losses. [...] The pulp loss mainly consists of two-component epoxy. A turbine wing is largely made of fiberglass reinforced epoxy where epoxy makes up approx. 40% of the pulp and fiberglass makeup 60%. [...] epoxy contains 33% bisphenol A. This amounts to approx. 13-15% of the total weight of a rotor blade. [...] Bisphenols are not covalently bound to the polymeric structure, from which with time, or due to physical and/or chemical factors such as heat and acidity, can be gradually released into the external environment, contaminating water, soil and sediments , and later the rest of the agrofood chain."

The possible health effects of Bisphenol A (BPA) have been studied in many scientific articles. We refer to a review article by Cimmino et al. [5]: "It is nowadays quite clear that BPA is a major risk factor for endocrine, immune, and oncological diseases. Indeed, this chemical has now been included in the list of banned substances in several products, such as cosmetics or baby bottles. However, several contrasting results about the toxic effects of


• The statement by the authors Koch et al.: "Note: There is no scientific evidence for health impairment or for sleep disorders triggered by noise emissions from wind turbines" is scientifically untenable.

• Environmental pollution caused by abrasion of microplastics, like the current findings on noise emissions from IWT (industrial wind turbines) to avoid serious health problems, must lead to long-term consequences in case law and approval practice.

• A distance of 1000 meters from residential buildings to wind energy plants of today's size cannot be reconciled with any responsible, precautionary concept of a state from a scientific point of view based on the current state of knowledge. There is an urgent need for action, including those who are already affected.

BPA have been described. [...] Therefore, to date, the best practice to reduce the harmful effects of BPA is still the precaution of limiting the consumption of plastic materials and promoting the use of BPA-free products."


Ursula Finland Quotes Dumbrille Bh

October 1, 2022


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