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Physicians raising a health alert for wind turbines

On May 20 of this year, the Batavia Daily News printed a digest of findings I submitted, by health care providers, relevant to deteriorating health and proximity to industrial wind turbines. (“Health concerns rise for proposed Alabama wind farm,” Another Point of View, May 20.)

Dozens of cases, concerning both people and animals, were discussed. In response to that article, I learned that, in May 2010, an international team of physicians agreed to a “proposed case definition for adverse health effects and industrial wind turbines.” Because our tri-county region is still in the throes of weighing the pros and cons of wind energy, I am here passing along an overview of wind turbine syndrome, as explained by this team of doctors.

Common signs and symptoms – sleep disturbance, loss of quality of life, stress or psychological distress, inner-ear trauma, headaches, and excessive tiredness.

Less-common symptoms – palpitation, high blood pressure, migraines, cognitive difficulties and gastrointestinal problems.

Adverse health effects were noted to worsen over time, and the physicians advised that no direct treatment was available, other than to leave the environs of an industrial wind facility. Severity of health issues was aggravated by proximity to turbine installations and was terrain-dependant. That is, flat land, hilly or mountainous landscape, or siting turbines offshore were important in gauging how close it was safe to live near industrial wind complexes.

Among the respondents to the May 20 article were several longtime residents of Western New York who shared similar experiences of deteriorating health, for which they had sought legitimate medical assistance. One adult male – I’ll call him Jesse – lives on a high peak commanding a breathtaking vista of the valley below, a panoramic mountain ridge beyond – with circa 100 turbines, six miles distant. Cell phone towers ranged along another escarpment. His magnificent, capacious, upscale stone home had become uninhabitable, after the startup of the turbine operation, because it vibrated. Jesse, his infant daughter and the mother of their child all had sleep disorders and they had to vacate their home. He went on to tell me more about his own medical profile: He has eye and ear pain, involuntary neurological twitching of the eyelid, a persistent lower back of the head headache, inability to concentrate, nausea, body stiffness, as well as drying out of the body, high blood pressure, and congestion of the throat, all when in the toxic environment. When he leaves, his symptoms diminish or, depending upon the complaint, altogether disappear. They recur when he returns. Although Jesse is professionally employed he is essentially homeless. When he cannot afford a motel, he sleeps in his truck.

Proposed case definitions are milestones in paving the way toward understanding the complexities of disease and illness. Anyone interested in receiving an electronic line to the names of the physicians referred to above, their affiliations and their proposed case definition for wind turbine syndrome, please contact me at srladygrail@gmail.com.

Sally Ross, Ph.D., lives in Oakfield.