No Adverse Health Effects from Wind Turbines
December 1, 2010
In my two video series on wind energy, I dispelled some mininformation and distortion about wind power’s threat to birds and bats.
Another issue that has arisen in a few isolated areas, is the question of health effects of wind turbines on humans. The number of press reports on the issue is completely out of proportion to the actual evidence, which comes from the self published, anecdotal accounts of one rural physician.
Now the issue has been studied in detail by several highly qualified, professional groups. The Portland Oregonian published a summary of the research, co-authored by Robert J. McCunney of MIT’s Department of Biological Engineering, and Robert Dobie, a clinical professor of otolaryngology at both the University of Texas-San Antonio and the University of California, Davis.
“While opponents of wind energy have attempted to use self-published reports to block projects, the science is clear. Independent studies conducted around the world consistently find that wind farms have no direct impact on physical health. In fact, with no air or water pollution emissions, wind energy is essential to reducing public health impacts from the energy sector.”
The authors were participants in a multi-disciplinary study of the literature on the perceived health effects of wind turbines, which found ”no evidence that the audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects.” The scientists note that while the study was funded by a wind trade group, none of the participants had previous involvement in the wind industry. They also point to studies in Australia, Ontario, and the UK which all came to similar conclusions – no adverse human inpacts, no so-called “wind turbine syndrome”.
The real bottom line? Wind farms have no adverse impact on property values of those living next to them, according to yet another study by the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories, which noted,
“..while it’s probable that there are some people who would never wish to have to look out on a wind turbine array, leading some small percentage of property values going down, there is no significant negative impact at all on the larger real estate value picture concerning situations where wind turbine arrays are within sight of a property.”
Despite the rash of stories about resistance to wind farms, based on only a few instances, for the vast majority those that know them best, wind turbines are good neighbors.
Michigan’s thumb area is as rich in dittoheads and militia members as it is in wind. Yet in a recent straw poll, residents of Huron County, who have had a chance to look at wind development up close with several large projects nearby, gave a solid thumbs up to more development.
Far from NIMBY, (not in my backyard)- the reaction to wind has been overwhelmingly PPIMBY – PLEASE put it in my back yard.
It’s time we gave rural areas a model for development besides more prisons and factory feedlots.