There is no credible evidence that wind farms have a negative impact on the health of people who live near them, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) says.
The AMA has released a position statement on wind farms, saying its stance is based on credible Australian and international studies.
Vice-president Professor Geoffrey Dobb says people living near wind farms may be unduly worried or incorrectly attributing unrelated health problems to wind turbine noise.
“The infrasound and low-frequency sound generated by modern wind farms in Australia is well below the level where known health effects occur,” Professor Dobb said in the statement.
“And there is no accepted physiological mechanism where sub-audible infrasound could cause health effects.”
Professor Dobb says there needs to be better community engagement to reduce anxiety about wind farms.
“People living near wind farms who experience adverse health or wellbeing may well do so because of heightened anxiety or negative perceptions about wind farms,” he said.
“The reporting of supposed health scares or the spreading of misinformation about wind farm developments may contribute to heightened anxiety.”
But Sarah Laurie, chief executive of anti-wind farm lobby group the Waubra Foundation, says they receive daily calls from people impacted by low-frequency sound.
“This hypothesis that it is scaremongering that’s causing all the symptoms just doesn’t add up,” she said.
“There is particular pulsating infrasound and low-frequency noise generated by wind turbines that are being shown to correlate directly with people’s systems.”
She says the AMA needs to look at all the evidence available, including independent studies.
Ms Laurie says more research is needed into the sleep patterns and blood pressure of people living near wind farms.
[Click here to go to Laurie’s open letter to the AMA.]