A team of eight doctors and scientists that includes a neurologist, a civil engineer and a sleep disruption expert will have a report on the potential health hazards posed by giant wind turbines ready in October, state officials said.
Ken Kimmell, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, said the team has already met once, earlier this month at the Federal Reserve building in Boston.
“There are a lot of claims being made that wind turbines caused health effects,” Kimmell said. “We thought it was very important for us to get scientists to give us their best judgment to see if there is any truth to these claims.”
As the Herald first reported yesterday, an advocacy group, Wind Wise Massachusetts, has alleged the turbines can throw off people’s balance, induce nausea and inflict a general anxiety on those who live and work around them, due in part to their low-pitched hum. The state review is a victory for the organization, founders say.
However, wind turbine users say those giant blades are cutting costs and dependency on toxic foreign oil.
“I think they’re beautiful and majestic,” said Greg Profido, chief operating officer of Mark Richey Woodworking in Newburyport, which sits beneath a 600-kilowatt structure they installed in 2009. “It’s making power, and it replaces about 80 percent of the energy we use in our facility.”
He said with the savings, the company projects that the turbine will pay for itself in five to seven years. Profido said the turbine has a life expectancy of 25 years. Thus far there have been no employee complaints of ill health linked to the turbine, he said.
Kimmell said when selecting members for the unpaid committee, DEP was careful to choose no one with affiliations on either side of the wind energy debate.
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