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Pregnancy exposure to wind turbine noise and adverse birth outcomes: a nationwide cohort study 

Author:  | Denmark, Health, Noise


  • We identified all Danes exposed to wind turbine noise (WTN) from 1982 to 2013.
  • We then identified all live born singletons from mothers in this population.
  • We investigated preterm birth, low birth weight and small for gestational age.
  • We found no associations between WTN and the adverse birth outcomes.
  • Few women had high levels of WTN and independent replication is called for.


Noise from wind turbines (WTs) is reported as more annoying than traffic noise at similar levels, raising concerns as to whether WT noise (WTN) may negatively affect health, as reported for traffic noise. We aimed to investigate whether residential WTN is associated with adverse birth outcomes. Based on national registries, we identified all Danish dwellings situated within ≤ 20 wt heights radius and a random selection of 25% of dwellings situated within 20–40 wt heights radius of a WT. We identified 135,795 pregnant women living in the dwellings from 1982 to 2013, and collected information on gestational age and birth weight from a national birth registry. Using data on WT type and simulated hourly wind at each WT, we estimated hourly outdoor and low frequency (LF) indoor WTN at the dwellings of the pregnant women and aggregated as mean nighttime WTN during pregnancy. We used logistic regression with adjustment for individual and area-level covariates for the analyses. We did not find evidence suggesting that mean pregnancy or trimester-specific exposure to outdoor or indoor LF WTN were associated with any of the three adverse birth outcomes investigated: preterm birth (n = 13,003), term small for gestational age (n = 12,220) or term low birth weight (n = 1127). However, the number of cases in the highest exposure categories of ≥  42 dB outdoor WTN or ≥ 15 dB indoor LF WTN were low for all outcomes (n between 0 and 31). The present study does not support an association between nighttime WTN and adverse birth outcomes. However, there were few cases in the high exposure groups and the results call for reproduction.

Aslak Harbo Poulsen
Ole Raaschou-Nielsen
Alfredo Peña
Andrea N. Hahmann
Rikke Baastrup Nordsborg
Matthias Ketzel
Jørgen Brandt
Mette Sørensen

  • Diet, Genes and Environment (A.H.P., Ol.R.-N., R.B.N., M.S.), Danish Cancer Society Research Center, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • DTU Wind Energy (A.P., A.N.H.), Technical University of Denmark, Roskilde, Denmark
  • Department of Environmental Science (O.R.-N., J.B.), Aarhus University, Roskilde, Denmark
  • Department of Natural Science and Environment (M.S.), Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark

Environmental Research, Volume 167, November 2018, Pages 770-775

This material is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this material resides with the author(s). As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Queries e-mail.

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