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Submission to the Australian Federal Senate Inquiry on Rural Wind Farms  

Author:  | Australia, Health, Noise, Regulations, Safety

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1. There are reports from around the world of people living adjacent to wind turbine developments becoming unwell with the same range of symptoms

2. The few studies which have been done by concerned medical clinicians have consistently found these problems

3. The medical evidence which exists from Dr Pierpont’s landmark peer reviewed case series cross over study clearly links exposure to turbines with the symptoms being described

4. Not all adjacent residents are affected

5. Some developments appear to have more seriously affected residents than others

6. Some residents are affected immediately, others are progressively affected over weeks to months of constant exposure

7. Chronic exposure appears to have a cumulative effect

8. The time taken to achieve full resolution of symptoms is proportional to the time exposed to turbines

9. Not all symptoms are reversible after chronic exposure, when affected residents move away

10. Some extremely ill residents in desperation have signed confidentiality agreements with wind developers, who have purchased their properties, in exchange for agreeing not to talk publicly about their health problems, in order to leave their homes and regain their health.

11. Residents are describing symptoms from a distance of up to 10km away from the nearest turbine

12. Elevations of blood pressure associated with proximity to operating turbines are an emerging issue

13. Some people appear particularly vulnerable to developing wind turbine syndrome symptoms, and they include children and the elderly

14. There a number of possible mechanisms for these symptoms and they include but are not limited to:

  • Audible noise causing chronic sleep deprivation (we know from affected residents that wind turbines can be very noisy, both upwind and downwind)
  • Wind turbine specific pulsatile infrasound and low frequency noise causing many of the symptoms of wind turbine syndrome (probable, based on current but limited experimental evidence, and recent measurement of wind turbine specific pulsatile infrasound)
  • Possible health effects from electromagnetic radiation issues in a few specific cases – in situ measurement required initially in these homes to determine if this is an issue for further investigation

RECOMMENDATIONS

1. There is an urgent need for further INDEPENDENT medical, acoustic and scientific research, looking specifically at the populations affected by the currently constructed and operating wind developments in Australia

2. An immediate temporary halt in construction of wind turbines closer than 10km to human habitation until adequate research is completed, in order to determine what is a safe setback of turbines from homes and workplaces

3. Current planning and noise guidelines will need to be updated on the basis of this new knowledge

4. There should be an immediate ban on the operation of wind turbines on days of high, extreme and catastrophic fire danger, because of the difficulties in fighting such fires, and the risk to lives should such a fire occur

5. Measurement of wind turbine specific infrasound and low frequency sound needs to be included in post construction noise assessments, and ALL these assessments MUST be performed by experienced Acousticians who are COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT of the wind developers

Dr Sarah Laurie
Medical Director
Waubra Foundation
sarah@waubrafoundation.com.au
10th February, 2011

Download original document: “Submission to the Australian Federal Senate Inquiry on Rural Wind Farms

Contents
Executive Summary
Recommendations
Background
Formation of the Waubra Foundation
Relevant Literature
Studies by Medical Clinicians including Affected Residents
My Field Observations in Australia
Recent Developments
Consequent Effect of These Symptoms
Occupational Health & Safety Concerns
Mechanisms of Causation
The Nocebo Effect
Some Areas Requiring Further Independent Research
Other Important Health/Planning Issues – Fire
Other Relevant Issues
Failure of Process and Regulations
Recommendations (repeat)
Waubra Foundation Objectives
References

[Click here to see all submissions to the inquiry on “The Social and Economic Impact of Rural Wind Farms”]

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

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