May 13, 2011

Let's check health risks

PENELOPE DEBELLE, The Advertiser State Edition, 13 May 2011

The state branch of the Australian Medical Association wants a national study of the health effects of living close to wind turbines.

Immediate past president Dr Andrew Lavender said governments and the wind companies relied on a literature review by the National Health and Medical Research Council of studies from overseas to give the turbines a clean bill of health.

‘‘In Australia we are talking about often very large wind farms and very large turbines,’’ Dr Lavender said.

He said the growing anecdotal evidence from South Australia about a cluster of symptoms including sleeplessness, high blood pressure and nausea could not be assessed without a proper medical study in the Australian context. ‘‘We are certainly not saying there is any evidence there is such a thing as wind turbine syndrome,’’ he said.

‘‘But what there isn’t is any information to look at health effects.’’

Concern about the number of cases of reported symptoms in SA, Victoria and New South Wales last year prompted a Senate inquiry into the social and economic impact of rural wind farms.

The findings will be tabled early next month. A submission from Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association executive officer Diana Laube states the health of regional Australia needs better attention. ‘‘Consistently, the medical profession have expressed concern at the cluster of similar symptoms experienced by some people in the vicinity of turbines but disappearing as soon as a person moves away,’’ Ms Laube’s submission states.

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