Here are the scientifically proven facts behind Richard and Edie Elvee’s letter (“We already know the answer,” June 23 Times-News).
I’m in contact with physicians in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia who have written about the health effects of living within a mile and a half of a wind turbine. I have received stories and have interviewed wind turbine victims.
My reading of peer reviewed information reveals the following:
The World Health Organization found that residents living within 6,500 feet of a turbine feel an overall diminished quality of life. Those exposed to turbine noise at 5,000 feet also experienced significantly lower sleep quality and rated their environment as less restful. They concluded that data strongly suggests that wind turbine noise can negatively impact quality of life.
The Institute of Medicine policy points out that: “Sleep disorders and sleep deprivation are an unmet public health problem.”
Harvard University: “In the short term, a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality.” Research has overturned the dogma that sleep loss has no health effects, apart from daytime sleepiness.
Children and teens are particularly susceptible to sleep deprivation. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found a strong link between sleep and aggression, delinquent behavior, and attention problems among 7- to 12-year-old children.
The World Health Organization cites studies showing that sleep deprived children can be less reflective, more impulsive and hyperactive and show poorer attention spans. Children and teens show reduced academic performance and learning when exposed to fractured sleep.
It concludes: “Observational and experimental studies have shown that noise exposure leads to annoyance, disturbs sleep and causes daytime sleepiness, affects patient outcomes and staff performance in hospitals, increases the occurrence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, and impairs cognitive performance in schoolchildren.”
According to WHO, 30 to 40 decibels (dB) may cause some harm to children and the elderly; but above 55 dB the situation is considered increasingly dangerous for public health. WHO night noise guideline for safe sleeping indoors is 30 dB.
A peer-reviewed article in the Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine concludes: If placed too close to residents, IWTs (industrial wind turbines) can negatively affect the physical, mental and social well-being of people.
There is sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that noise from audible IWTs is a potential cause of health effects. Inaudible low-frequency noise and infrasound from IWTs cannot be ruled out as plausible causes of health effects.”
Wayne C. Spiggle, MD
Short Gap, W.Va.
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