An Analysis of the American/Canadian Wind Energy Associations–sponsored “Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects: An Expert Panel Review” (December 2009)
It is apparent from this analysis that the A/CanWEA Panel Review is neither authoritative nor convincing. The work is characterized by commission of unsupportable statements and the confirmation bias in the use of references. Many important references have been omitted and not considered in the discussion. Furthermore the authors have taken the position that the World Health Organization standards regarding community noise are irrelevant to their deliberation – a remarkable presumption.
There is no medical doubt that audible noise such as emitted by modern upwind industrial wind turbines sited close to human residences causes significant adverse health effects. These effects are mediated through sleep disturbance, physiological stress and psychological distress. This is settled medical science.
There are many peer-reviewed studies showing that infra and low frequency sound can cause adverse health effects, especially when dynamically modulated. Modern upwind industrial scale turbines of the types now being located in rural areas of North America require study. The extent to which infra and low frequency noise from wind turbines inside or outside homes causes direct adverse effects upon the human body remains an open question – there is no settled medical science on this issue as of yet.
Perhaps the most egregious conclusion is that no more research is required. That statement implies that the science is settled which quite simply is false. It also demonstrates a disdain for the scientific method itself.
There is but one conclusion: independent third party studies must be undertaken to establish the incidence and prevalence of adverse health effects relating to wind turbines. Beyond that a deeper understanding of the potential mechanisms for the impacts must be elucidated in order to define the mechanisms by which the sleep disturbance, stress and psychological distress occur.
In contrast to the statement of the A/CanWEA Panel Review, our view is that a great deal of research is required for the protection of people’s health.
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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