Can Wind Turbines Make People Sick?
A Study is underway to reveal whether living near wind turbine can make people sick, for which more than AUD$ 3 million dollars has been funded.
Wind turbine sickness is the name given to the range of symptoms experienced by some people living in close proximity to wind farms, including dizziness, headaches, sleep disturbances, nausea, and irritability. The hypothesis is that infrasound produced by wind turbines could be causing these symptoms.
National Health and Medical Research Council(NHMRC) conducted a 1.5 year study on the issue to find whether any direct link is found between the condition and proximity to wind turbines. But the result was negative.
Some of the highlights are:
- Cases have been reported in Australia, the UK, and North America, there have been next to no complaints out of Germany, Denmark and Spain, where wind turbines are far more common.
- Strangely enough, non-English speakers don’t seem to experience the condition.
- Many scientists suggest that there are psycho-social causes for the condition, rather than physical ones.
Geoffrey Dobb, Vice President and Chair of the Australian Medical Association’s Public Health Committee, commented back in 2014 addressing the greenhouse gasses and other pollutants produced by burning fossil fuels: “There is no accepted physiological mechanism where sub-audible infrasound could cause health effects.”
He added: “People living near wind farms who experience adverse health or wellbeing may well do so because of heightened anxiety or negative perceptions about wind farms.”
The people were informed beforehand that the farms would be detrimental to their health, which made them unhappy about wind turbines being installed near them.
Simon Chapman, a professor of public health at the University of Sydney, said: “Wind farm opponents in parliament will soon have a ready-made excuse to argue for moratoriums on further wind farm development.”
Will Grant, a science communicator from the Australian National University, presumed that looking into the psychological aspect – and potential treatments – of wind turbine sickness might be a better investment.
The NHMRC has defended its decision by emphasising the fact that the two newly funded projects will be high quality and will involve lab work, which will eliminate all the variables and hopefully provide some solid answers on the topic.
The concern now is that spending more money and time on wind turbine sickness is giving the coal industry an excuse to drag their feet when it comes to building new wind turbines.