Noise & Health Studies & Resources
New WHO noise guidelines for Europe released
World Health Organization Press Release
“Noise pollution in our towns and cities is increasing, blighting the lives of many European citizens. More than a nuisance, excessive noise is a health risk – contributing to cardiovascular diseases, for example. We need to act on the many sources of noise pollution – from motorized vehicles to loud nightclubs and concerts – to protect our health,” says Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “The new WHO guidelines define exposure levels to noise that should not be exceeded to minimize adverse health effects and we urge European policy-makers to make good use of this guidance for the benefit of all Europeans.” What is new – Compared to previous WHO guidelines on noise, this version contains 5 significant developments including inclusion of new noise sources, namely wind turbine noise and leisure noise, in addition to noise from transportation (aircraft, rail and road traffic).
Testimony from Arkwright – site of recently built NY wind project:
The Arkwright Summit Wind Project became operational in September 2018. This project was approved by the Arkwright Town Board (not the NY State Article 10 application process). Residents, including those who did not initially oppose the project are complaining about noise, infrasound, shadow flicker and flashing lights. Their testimony is powerful incentive for citizens to stay involved in the local and State siting process.
Chautauqua County Legislature
Second privilege of the floor
Arkwright Town Board Meeting soon after EDP Arkwright Summit 37 industrial wind turbines are made operational.
Numerous residents speak
Industrial wind turbine noise could be “intolerable.”
SOS Press Release
Presentation by environmental attorney, Gary Abraham for SOS summer event July 2018.
Industrial wind turbine noise has been measured as far as 20 miles away. 45 decibels of wind turbine noise will be heard at least one mile from the project.
Comments by Mark Twichell, DDS, on the written testimony of Henry Spliethoff, M.S.,
Chief of the Prevention and Sustainability Section in the Division of Environmental Health Assessment, NYS Department of Health
Initial brief by Concerned Citizens of the Cassadaga Wind Project attorney Gary Abraham in response to evidentiary hearings
The Cassadaga Wind Project is the first industrial wind project in NYS to go through the Article 10 process.
NYS Department of Health Staff Initial Post-Hearing Brief
From Cassadaga Wind project
Sleep Disturbance and Turbine Noise
Compilation of issues relating to sleep disturbance and wind turbines.
Health Impact Brochure
Health Impacts from Industrial Wind Turbines – handout we use at various community events that address noise, infrasound, shadow flicker, and ice throw/turbine failure/turbine fires.
Judgment in the case of the Town of Falmouth, MA vs. Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals et al
Where the Town of Falmouth was ordered to shut down the operation of two wind turbines.
Wind Farm Being Sued by Families Admits Liability
County Cork, Ireland, first instance of wind project operator admitting liability (2/6/17) and subsequent settlement with victims (6/14/17).
Study – Environmental Noise Pollution: Has Public Health Become too Utilitarian
Alun Evans, Centre for Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK
Study – Altered cortical and subcortical connectivity due to infrasound administered near the hearing threshold
Evidence from fMRI, PLoS ONE, M. Weichenberger, M. Bauer, et al
Includes quotes from residents within three industrial wind projects.
Study – Wind Turbine Noise and Human Health
A Four-Decade History of Evidence that Wind Turbines Pose Risks by Jerry Punch and Richard James
Infrasound and Low-Frequency Noise
Twenty years of research working with those who are exposed to low frequency noise and vibrations had led this researcher to identify the impacts as vibroacousti disease (VAD).
Wind Turbine Noise and Human Health: A Four-Decade History of Evidence that Wind Turbines Pose Risks
The wind industry touts that there is no scientific evidence that wind turbines cause adverse health impacts. These two scientists systematically review 40 years of studies considering 12 different topics. Reviewed evidence overwhelmingly supports the link between industrial wind turbines and adverse health impacts.
Shirley Wind Case Crossover Testimonies (Michigan)
Shirley wind turbines were shut down for several days including all electrical power to those turbines also being shut off and then resumed operation. A number of residents wrote notarized statements of what they experienced both during the shutdown and after turbines were operating again.
Statistical Study: Wind Turbines and Health (France)
This paper establishes an objective method to evaluate the possible impact of industrial wind turbines on human health.
The Ultimate Insult
Open letter to WHO on health impacts of those living near wind turbines in Ontario, CA. Those feeling the impact want their comments to be considered as WHO sets recommendations for set-backs and noise levels.
63 peer reviewed articles regarding impairment of health in general and relating to industrial wind turbines
Industrial Wind Turbines and Health: Wind Turbines Can Harm Humans if too Close to Residents. Contrary to what the wind industry and our government would like the public to believe there are many up to date peer reviewed and published articles on adverse health effects related to industrial scale wind energy projects that are situated too close to our homes.
Audiology Today Article: Wind Turbine Noise, What Audiologists Should Know
… [article begins on pg 20] Evidence has been mounting over the past decade, however, that these utility-scale wind turbines produce significant levels of low-frequency noise and vibration that can be highly disturbing to nearby residents.
Explanation of terms and concepts related to wind turbine infrasound
Infrasound is acoustic energy, sound pressure, just like the low to high frequency sounds that we are accustomed to hearing.What makes infrasound different is that it is at the lowest end of the acoustical frequency spectrum even below the deep bass rumble of distant thunder or all but the largest pipe organ tones. As the frequency of an infrasonic tone moves to lower frequencies: 5Hz, 2Hz, 1Hz and lower, the sounds are more likely to be perceived as separate pressure pulsations instead of a rumble/thump or other form of audible sound.
Infrasound Measurements of Falmouth Wind Turbines Wind #1 and Wind #2
In 2010 the Town of Falmouth erected the first of two Vestas V82, 1.65 megawatt wind turbines, known as “Wind #1” and in 2012 the second turbine known as “Wind #2” was installed. Also in 2010, Notus Clean Energy erected the same Vestas V82 wind turbine known as the “Notus” wind turbine…Soon after the first wind turbine was operational, complaints were filed by the Andersens and other neighbors.
Doctors call for a reduction in turbine noise
Leading doctors have called on the Government to reduce the noise levels of wind turbines — which they claim are four times that recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. The Irish Doctors’ Environmental Association also said the set-back distance of 500m is not enough, that it should be increased to at least 1,500m [1.5km, almost 1mi].
Wind Turbines can be Hazardous to Human Health
You cannot hear the infrasound at the levels generated by wind turbines, but your ears certainly detect and respond to it. Causing Amplitude Modulation (pulsation) of heard sounds. Stimulating “subconscious” pathways. Causing Endolymphatic Hydrops. Possibly Potentiating Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. The degree to which each phenomenon occurs in humans following prolonged exposure to the infrasound from wind turbines has not yet been demonstrated. But each now needs to be studied in more detail.
Acoustic Engineering Investigation into Airborne and Ground-Borne Pressure Pulses from Pacific Hydro’s Wind Turbines at Cape Bridgewater
(A Simplified Explanation of the Findings, Previous Research, and the Consequences)
The first-of-a-kind study funded by a wind turbine company, this study was conducted to learn what caused the sleep disturbance and health damage of three households and provides interesting and realistic insights.
Groundbreaking new study shows the link between “wind turbine signature” and health effects.
Acoustics expert Steven Cooper demonstrates a link between infrasound components of the blade pass frequency and its harmonics and residents’ observed sensations.
Negative Health Effects of Noise from Industrial Wind Turbines
This post, the first of a three-part series, provides a broad overview of the topic. The second installment will review the major research findings linking low-frequency noise and infrasound from industrial wind turbines with effects on health and quality of life. Part three will discuss the relationship between various health effects and the processing of infrasound by the ear and brain.
Wind Turbines: A Different Breed of Noise?
But the problem with the property wasn’t the degraded view—at least not for the Hobarts. The problem was the noise. Shortly after the turbine switched on in 2010, Sue began experiencing headaches, dizziness, insomnia, and a ringing in her ears. When she noticed the symptoms briefly disappeared during trips out of town, she began attributing them to the arrival of the turbine. Within two years she was ready to leave.
Wisconsin Wind Turbines Declared Health Hazard
In what appears to be the first of its kind ruling in the United States, the Board of Health in Brown County, Wisconsin, where Green Bay is located, has declared a local industrial wind plant to be a human health hazard. The specific facility consists of eight 500-foot high, 2.5 megawatt industrial wind turbines.
Duke Energy’s Shirley wind turbines declared a “human health hazard”
To declare the Industrial Wind Turbines at Shirley Wind Project in the Town of Glenmore, Brown County, WI, a Human Health Hazard for all people (residents, workers, visitors, and sensitive passersby) who are exposed to Infrasound/Low Frequency Noise and other emissions potentially harmful to human health.
Winter 2014 Edition
How does wind turbine noise affect people?
Published in “Acoustics Today,” this report describes multiple ways in which infra-sound and low-frequency sound give rise to symptoms that some people living near wind turbines report. “Years of assertions by the wind industry that “what you can’t hear can’t affect you” or that symptoms are psychosomatic will be viewed in the future as a great injustice,” concludes the research team.
Wind Farms and Health
According to the World Health Organisation’s recent report, ‘Night Noise Guidelines for Europe’ , environmental noise is emerging as one of the major public health concerns of the twenty-first century. It observes that, “Many people have to adapt their lives to cope with the noise at night,” and the young and the old are particularly vulnerable.
Adverse Health Effects of Industrial Wind Turbines, from The College of Family Physicians of Canada, May 2013 (pdf)
Adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines
Canadian family physicians can expect to see increasing numbers of rural patients reporting adverse effects from exposure to industrial wind turbines (IWTs). People who live or work in close proximity to IWTs have experienced symptoms that include decreased quality of life, annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, headache, anxiety, depression, and cognitive dysfunction.
Wine turbines ARE a human health hazard: the smoking gun
…the industry has known for at least 25 years about the potentially damaging impact on human health of the impulsive infrasound (inaudible intermittent noise) produced by wind turbines. Yet instead of dealing with the problem it has, on the most generous interpretation, swept the issue under the carpet – or worse, been involved in a concerted cover-up operation.
AEI Wind Farm Noise Resources
This is a review of current state of research on issues of wind turbine noise including problems and limitations of the current research. It may be a starting point for those interested in seeing what we have to work with in terms of science. It was updated in 2012 but there is likely newer data as well. It is associated with the Acoustic Ecology website:
Wind turbines can harm humans: a case study
In Canada the Ontario Government has adopted wind energy as a renewable energy source. Our research in Ontario documents some individuals living in the environs of wind turbines report experiencing physiological and psychological symptoms, reduced quality of life, degraded living conditions, and adverse social economic impacts. Some families have abandoned their homes or negotiated financial agreements with wind energy developers.
Wind Turbine Syndrome
A report on a natural experiment.
Peer-reviewed study shatters claims that wind turbines are “safe”
In a groundbreaking study at Pacific Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater windfarm in the state of Victoria, Australia’s leading acoustical engineer Steven Cooper found that a unique infrasound pattern, which he had labelled “Wind Turbine Signature” in previous studies, correlates (through a “trend line”) with the occurrence and severity of symptoms of residents who had complained of often-unbearable “sensations”. These include sleep disturbance, headaches, heart racing, pressure in the head, ears or chest, etc. as described by the residents (symptoms generally known as Wind Turbine Syndrome (WTS), or the euphemism “noise annoyance.”
Sound specialist offers expertise on industrial wind installations
Bolton explained the many ways wind developers methodology is flawed. Field measurements are not done correctly (i.e. – improper microphone placement, no justification for sampling sites, etc.); accurate samplings need to be done for a full year to account for seasonal variations, but aren’t; and computer prediction models wind developers rely on are inadequate because they don’t account for modulation, coherence, refraction, and icing.
Do wind turbines cause health problems?
Until recently, there were three main issues regarding the possible downsides of wind power: bird and bat deaths, cost, and disrupting the appearance of natural landscapes. But a new objection to wind power has popped up in the past few years, resting on the research of a few scientists. The latest argument states that wind power endangers the health of people who live near windmills. Some people call this theory “wind-turbine syndrome.” Although the extent of the phenomenon is unknown, there does seem to be something to it.
Shirley Wind Project, Brown County, Wisconsin
• Overview (pdf)
• Cover Page (pdf)
A Cooperative Measurement Survey and Analysis of Low Frequency and Infrasound at the Shirley Wind Farm in Brown County, Wisconsin. Dated 1/17/13, listing four acoustical consulting firms involved in the study. Three quotes from the study are also included.
• Comments by Herb Coussons, MD, from Brown County Supervisors Meeting (pdf)
2/15/17. This doctor has been treating patients impacted by the industrial wind turbines in the area.
• Press release from Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy (pdf)
9/23/17. This summarizes a joint meeting of the Brown County Human Services Committee and the Board of Health on 9/12/17.
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