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Wind power similar to asbestos, tobacco industries: NSW GP

A NSW GP has dismissed claims wind turbines cause no ill health effects and called on his colleagues to join the fight against the wind power industry, which he compared to the tobacco and asbestos industries.

Carcoar, NSW, GP Dr Alan Watts, who was recognised with an Australia Day Award in 2004 for service to medicine, has called for “rigorous and independent” research into the health effects of wind turbines to “settle the matter once and for all”.

Dr Watts said the medical profession had a responsibility to speak out about the effects of the turbines, particularly in relation to production of low-frequency “infrasound”, which he believed led to sleep deprivation and subsequent ill health in people living nearby.

“My colleagues have been a great disappointment to me,” Dr Watts said.

“They don’t want to get involved. This is an unpopular stance at the moment but it is one we have to take.

“There are many parallels between the tobacco and wind industries.”

Dr Watts dismissed a position paper released this week by the Climate and Health Alliance, which said there was “no credible evidence” there were any “direct adverse physiological health effects from exposure to wind turbines” and called for a fresh round of independent research funded by the wind industry.

Alliance convenor Fiona Armstrong said while the evidence indicated a “small proportion” of people were annoyed by wind turbines, the health effects of emissions from Australian coal-fired power stations costs “$2.6 billion annually”.

But Dr Watts, who is a member of the Flyers Creek Wind Turbine Awareness Group, said the health effects of turbines were all too real.

“We believe there are too many people who are being chased away from their farms and [made sick] and they won’t be fixed by rubbing money on the problem,” he said.

“They get sick when they are at home and they get well when they go away and I don’t know why we continue to vilify these people who are ill.”