A government report examining potential health impacts of wind turbines on nearby residents has found there is no consistent evidence of adverse health effects of wind farms, but calls for further research.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) released its report into the effects of wind farm noise on human health last week.
Overseeing the review was the NHMRC Wind Farm and Human Health Reference Group, chaired by Emeritus Professor Bruce Arm-
strong, of the School of Public Health at Sydney University.
Professor Armstrong said while there was a lot of research about the health effects of wind farms, very little of it was done in a way that one could scientifically measure the probability of links between wind farms and effects on human health.
While the NHMRC review identified more than 4000 papers, only 13 were deemed to be of the type of scientific quality required to consider the links between wind farms and human health.
Professor Armstrong said across those 13 studies, there was no direct evidence of adverse health effects from wind turbines.
He said more studies were needed into low-frequency and very low-frequency noises, and the potential impacts on health, as well as more objective measurements of health effects plus subjective reports from those living near wind turbines.
“Some of the arguments people have raised about wind turbines still need to be given better answers,” Professor Armstrong said.
According to the NHMRC State-
ment Evidence on Wind Farms and Human Health there is “no direct evidence that exposure to wind farm noise affects physical or mental health”.
“There is consistent but poor qual-
ity direct evidence that wind farm noise is associated with annoyance,” the report found.
The NHMRC also said there was “no direct evidence that considered the possible effects on health of infrasound or low frequency noise from wind farms”.
“Exposure to infrasound and low-frequency noise in a laboratory setting has few, if any, effects on body functions.
“However, this exposure did not replicate all of the characteristics of wind farm noise as it has generally been at much higher levels and of short duration.”