It is strange indeed that the NSW and Victorian governments should object on political grounds to further research on wind farms and associated adverse health effects (“Call for wind farm research ignored political objections”, February 14, p7).
The Clean Energy Council also questions the need for further research.
In relation to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) report in question, 4000 documents were collected, but only 13 were included in the study. The rest did not meet the council’s criteria.
Professor Bruce Armstrong, chairman of the NHMRC Wind Farms and Human Health Reference Group, said there were not many publications that investigated the health impact of living near a wind farm.
A systematic review of the literature by Danish clinicians Schmidt and Klokker in 2014 also investigated health effects related to wind-turbine noise exposure. The evidence suggests an association between wind-turbine noise and annoyance and stress, and also sleep disturbance, though studies reviewed were not designed to establish a causal link.
Given that the NHMRC previously recommended that relevant authorities take a precautionary approach to regulating wind farms, surely it makes sense to conduct further research on this issue, given the problematic associations found to date. At minimum, those supporting wind farms should agree with those who are concerned about adverse health effects that definitive research to settle the matter is urgently required. The continuing absence of such support calls the integrity of proponents’ claims into question.
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