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Health effects of ultra-low frequency sound and noise by wind power generation facilities

Abstract
We investigated whether long-term exposure to low-frequency noise generated by wind power facilities is a risk factor for sleep disorders. We performed an epidemiological study of the living environment and health effects of such noise by surveying 9,000 residents (≥20 years of age) living in areas with operational wind power facilities. Sleep disorders were assessed using the Athens Insomnia Scale. To assess environmental noise in residential areas near wind turbines, infrasound and low-frequency sound exposure levels were measured at 50 community centers of a town. The prevalence of sleep disorders was significantly higher among residents who reported subjectively hearing noise (by approximately twofold) than among those who did not. Moreover, the reported prevalence of sleep disorders was significantly higher (by approximately twofold) among residents living at a distance of ≤1,500 m from the nearest wind turbine than among residents living at a distance of ≥2,000 m, suggesting a dose-response relationship. The attitudes of residents towards wind power facilities strongly affected their responses regarding sleep disorder prevalence. It is highly likely that audible noise generated by wind power facilities is a risk factor for sleep disorders. Obtaining a satisfactory consensus from local residents before installing wind power facilities is important as for more amenable their attitudes towards such facilities. [Article in Japanese]

Tatsuya Ishitake, Department of Environmental Medicine, Kurume University School of Medicine

Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi [Japanese Journal of Hygiene]. 2018;73(3):298-304. doi: 10.1265/jjh.73.298.

Download original document: “風力発電施設による超低周波音・騒音の健康影響 [1]