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Board of Health ponders health effects of turbines  

Credit:  By BRENT RUNYON, Falmouth Enterprise, 1 March 2011 ~~

Falmouth Board of Health held a brief discussion of the health effects of wind turbines last night, which highlighted a gap between scientific and anecdotal evidence.

Board members said there is a lack of scientific evidence that wind turbines cause any measurable health issues, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence and testimony from neighbors that the turbines in Falmouth affect the quality of life for some.

“Annoyance is not a standard health effect,” said board member Jared V. Goldstone.

“It’s a stressor,” said Falmouth Health Agent David W. Carignan, adding that he was not aware of any peer-reviewed studies that show wind turbines cause measurable health effects. Mr. Goldstone said he was not sure if annoyance could be considered a health effect. “I would venture to guess that there is no clear body of evidence that there are health effects from wind turbines in any scientific literature,” Mr. Goldstone said, adding that if there were, the attorneys for the abutters to the turbines in town would have presented it to them.

Even if there is no scientific evidence, the concerns and experiences of abutters with the wind turbines in Falmouth are very real, said board Chairman Gail A. Harkness. “These people clearly have a psychological reaction, but that is very hard to document and quantify,” Ms. Harkness said. Psychological effects are also hard to define, she said.

Wind turbine health effects were not on the board’s agenda last night, but board members took up the discussion while discussing a letter from Acting Town Manager Heather B. Harper that
offered to shut down the turbine from midnight to 3 AM. A group of 10 residents living near the town-owned wind turbine at the wastewater treatment plant on Blacksmith Shop Road hired attorney Christopher G. Senie of Westborough to represent them in their dispute with the town about the turbine.

The town-owned wind turbine is a 1.65megawatt Vestas model that stands 262 feet high at the hub and stretches to 402 feet high at the tip of the blade.

Source:  By BRENT RUNYON, Falmouth Enterprise, 1 March 2011

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

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