March 13, 2013
Letters, Massachusetts

Different measurements needed?

Falmouth Enterprise | 3/12/13

The Friday edition of the Enterprise, “Appeals Board Hears Arguments in Turbine Nuisance Claim,” stated that Mr. Gore did not doubt that Mr. Andersen’s problems were legitimate. Both he and Mr. Duffy rejected the claim, however, based upon measurements of sound intensity, which is an A-weighted measurement of audio sound.

Unfortunately, the Wind Turbine Options Committee, which cost the town $388,000, said in its final report to the selectmen, “Though clearly the heart of the matter, the WTOP did not examine the underlying causes of the neighbors’ health complaints.”

Many research articles indicate that it is the infrasound and low frequency that must be measured. Reliable references can be found, for example, in Chen and Narins (Acoustic Today, pp 51-55, April 2012). This article clearly states, “A-weighted filters are inadequate evaluations because they assume human insensitivity to infrasound. …High levels of infrasound can alter cochlear functions and activate the auditory cortex. Potential long term changes in brain activity by nearby wind farms have raised serious concerns.”

They mention headache, annoyance, irritability, and chronic fatigue, the very things that my friends and neighbors clearly describe. When the Falmouth victims leave their homes, the symptoms go away. The article in fact says, “The symptoms often surface when one is close to wind turbines or an infrasound source, and disappear when the person moves away.”

My attention was drawn to this article by Dr. Robert Frosch, an acoustician with many years of association with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He is also the former head of NASA and many other federal agencies as well as a resident of Falmouth for many years. He stated to me (quoted with his permission), “It is very probable that some of the neighbors are really being strongly physically affected by infrasound, either airborne or vibration-borne. Someone should make some measurements of infrasound in the homes of those who are upset, before the whole thing is decided in ignorance.”

Linda D. Whitehead

Gregory Lane


Precinct One

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