September 18, 2011
A new study “Health Effects and Wind Turbines: A Review of the Literature” has just been published in the academic journal Environmental Health (14 September 2011).
The review, by Loren D Knopper and Christopher A Ollson, reviews the peer-reviewed scientific literature, government agency reports, and the most prominent information found in popular literature on the subject. As the abstract notes, “People interested in this debate turn to two sources of information to make informed decisions: scientific peer-reviewed studies published in scientific journals and the popular literature and internet.”
In a classic understatement, the abstract notes that “conclusions of the peer reviewed literature differ in some ways from those in the popular literature.” On the one hand, “no peer reviewed articles demonstrate a direct causal link between people living in proximity to modern wind turbines, the noise they emit and resulting physiological health effects.” On the other, “In the popular literature, self-reported health outcomes are related to distance from turbines and the claim is made that infrasound is the causative factor for the reported effects, even though sound pressure levels are not measured.”
“While it is acknowledged that noise from wind turbines can be annoying to some and associated with some reported health effects (e.g., sleep disturbance), especially when found at sound pressure levels greater than 40 db(A), given that annoyance appears to be more strongly related to visual cues and attitude than to noise itself, self reported health effects of people living near wind turbines are more likely attributed to physical manifestation from an annoyed state than from wind turbines themselves.”
The abstract concludes that “assessing the effects of wind turbines on human health is an emerging field and conducting further research into the effects of wind turbines (and environmental changes) on human health, emotional and physical, is warranted. “
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