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Communities must consider health risks of wind turbines

Last year, the Madison County Board of Health in Iowa determined “that there is the potential for negative health effects associated with commercial wind turbines and that current setbacks are inadequate to protect the public health” and recommended “a one and one-half (1½) mile setback from non-participating residences for future wind turbine projects.”

I contacted the Board of Health to find out the basis for this resolution. It sent me nearly 90 documents that it had reviewed in making this determination. Included in these documents were several studies that had determined that wind turbines pose no health risks. These are the studies that are always referenced by the wind turbine developers.

As more and more wind turbines are located in populated areas, however, more people are experiencing health problems. The majority of the documents provided evidence that many people are negatively affected by close proximity to wind turbines. This evidence includes reviews by medical doctors who determined that the complaints were legitimate and not made up by people opposed to the wind turbines. Not everyone appears to have negative health issues (at least on a short-term basis). There is some evidence that the effects may be worse for people prone to motion sickness, but I did not see any reports of studies done to verify that theory.

Wind turbines need to be located in areas away from people. The developers appear to only be interested in profits, not in the health and welfare of the communities they invade. Before communities allow developers to shoehorn the wind turbines into populated areas, they should stop relying on the studies presented by the developers and start looking into the mounting evidence concerning negative health issues.

Fred Campbell is a resident of Clarksdale.