AE.org - website of the Acoustic Ecology Institute
newsCommunityResourcesSoundscapesAbout UsJoin Us
aeinews Home

Wind Turbine Syndrome: Can Wind Farms Make People Sick?

Health, Human impacts, News Add comments

While reports of nearby industrial wind farms causing annoyance with their noise are becoming fairly common, a physician who has been looking at the most severe complaints has coined a phrase: “wind turbine syndrome.” Nina Pierpont, a New York pediatrician who has taught at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, has found a consistent cluster of symptoms associated with people living near wind turbines, including sleep problems, headaches that increase in severity, dizziness, nausea, exhaustion, anger and irritability. “A setback of 1.5 miles from homes, schools, hospitals and similar institutes will probably be adequate … to protect people from the adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines,” she recommended to the New York legislature. In UK, MD Amanda Harry’s research documented 39 people living from 1,000 feet to about 1.5 miles from turbines whose health was clearly being affected. She found that the sounds fluctuated, depending on the wind strength and direction. But she wrote that she thought the cases she found were only “the tip of the iceberg.” At the New University of Lisbon in Portugal, professor Mariana Alves-Pereira has found that sounds occurring at or below the frequency band 500 Hz could cause a similar set of symptoms that she has termed “vibro-acoustic” disease. Last year her research team obtained detailed acoustical measurements of a home near four turbines, and Pereira concluded that the sounds were high enough to be associated with vibro-acoustic disease. Kenneth Smith, a Kansas City area audiologist, says such low-frequency sounds can cause health disorders — but cautions that much more study needs to be done on turbines. “This has to make you nervous as a scientist,” said Smith, a founder of Hearing Associates and a fellow with the American Academy of Audiology. “It’s risky to draw conclusions.” Source: Kansas City Star, 4/12/08 [READ ARTICLE] [NINA PIERPONT WEBSITE] 

[See AEI Special Report: Wind Turbine Noise Impacts]

Leave a Reply