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Wind Turbine Syndrome: The Impact of Wind Farms on Suicide  

Author:  | Health, Noise, U.S.

Abstract – Current technology uses wind turbines’ blade aerodynamics to convert wind energy to electricity. This process generates significant low-frequency noise that reportedly results in residents’ sleep disruptions, among other annoyance symptoms. However, the existence and the importance of wind farms’ health effects on a population scale remain unknown. Exploiting over 800 utility-scale wind turbine installation events in the United States from 2001 to 2013, I show robust evidence that wind farms lead to significant increases in suicide. I explore three indirect tests of the role of low-frequency noise exposure. First, the suicide effect concentrates among individuals who are vulnerable to noise-induced illnesses, such as the elderly. Second, the suicide effect is driven by days when wind blows in directions that would raise residents’ exposure to low-frequency noise radiation. Third, data from a large-scale health survey suggest increased sleep insufficiency as new turbines began operating. These findings point to the value of noise abatement in future wind technology innovations.

Download original document: “Wind Turbine Syndrome: The Impact of Wind Farms on Suicide

Download reader’s report by Nina Pierpont, MD, PhD

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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