An American professor has trashed a Victorian Department of Health report claiming low level sound generated by wind farms does no harm.
The report “Wind Farms, Sound and Health: Technical Information” released last month rubbished talk the level of infrasound produced by turbines was hazardous to the health of humans.
The booklet says if humans can’t hear a sound it cannot be hazard to their health.
Professor Alec Salt from the Department of Otolaryngology of the Washington University in St Louis said there was a lack of objectivity within the state government report.
Professor Salt took to task the study’s findings that inaudible sounds don’t have direct physiological effects.
He said six publications from his group have shown how the ear responds to low frequency sounds up to 50 db below the levels that would be heard.
“Three of the citations were peer-reviewed and published in some of the most well respected journals in the field of acoustics and hearing science,” Prof Salt said.
“Our publications, which were clearly neglected or conveniently overlooked, show that inaudible low frequency sounds do indeed stimulate the ear and produce marked physiological effects.
“The stimulation of human inner-ear sensory cells occurs by identical processes to those seen in commonly used laboratory mammals, so there is no evidence that humans are different from other mammals in this respect.”
It has “highly irresponsible” for a health department to state as a fact that low frequency sounds have no physiological effects “when publicly available experimental results prove otherwise.”
The Victorian Health Department report was cold comfort for Silverton resident Helen Murray.
Ms Murray has been vocal in her criticism of the wind farm set to be constructed 6km out from her property along the Mundi Mundi Ranges.
Energy giant AGL’s big ticket project will see 75 – 100 turbines built. Residents of the sleepy village have listed traffic, noise and visual impact as their main gripes.
“It seems to me that the Vic Health Department and various other government agencies are doing a head-in-the-sand job,” she said.
“There is so much information out there about these health effects and it is looking to me like no-one wants to know about it as there would then be a legitimate reason to call a moratorium on wind energy until these effects are thoroughly and honestly investigated.
“I’m guessing the wind energy companies wouldn’t be very happy with the likely results.”
The Victorian Department of Health report was compiled from existing studies.
It contains infrasound readings from wind farms in Victoria and SA that shows the level is 20 decibels lower than the audibility threshold.
AGL said yesterday the June Community Consultative Committee meeting for the wind farm will discuss Prof Salt’s letter further
“AGL Energy is committed to regularly communicating with Silverton residents about a range of topics pertaining to the proposed Silverton Wind Farm.
“The Community Consultative Committee meeting on 23 May 2013 raised awareness of this letter, and AGL discussed a range of peer reviewed health and noise studies regarding wind farms that have been produced by various Australian Government bodies.”
The Victorian Health Department was contacted for comment.
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