That caution label might soon need to be affixed to any wind turbine built in this country. Why, you ask? Well, it seems that there is increasing evidence that these giant power generators are making people ill.
Here is but one case study.
In 2007, a phalanx of wind turbines were built around Charlie Porter’s property in rural northern Missouri. Soon, Mr. Porter began to have trouble sleeping. So did his wife and daughter. The noise, he told me, made sleeping almost impossible. “We tried everything—earplugs, leaving the TV station on all night.” Nothing worked. Late last year he moved his family off their 20-acre farm.
Curiously, as soon as he did so, his family’s symptoms ceased.
Of course, the critical thinker will say, well, that doesn’t prove that the problem was caused by wind turbines. But, before you reach that conclusion, read on.
Identical symptoms have been reported by people living near wind turbines in New York, Maine, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ontario, New Zealand, Australia, Nova Scotia, England, Ireland and Italy. The people affected all report the same symptoms…sleep disturbance, headaches and vertigo. At least two physicians, Dr. Nina Malone of New York, and, Dr. Robert McMurtry of Ontario have begun to study these cases.
Wind turbines produce both audible and sub-audible sound.
The health effects of low-frequency noise on humans are not well understood. The noise in question often occurs at, or below, decibel levels that are commonly considered a public nuisance. And detecting low-frequency noise requires sophisticated acoustic gear.
So, what does the wind industry have to say? It has labeled the symptoms “psychosomatic”, affecting only a “small number of sensitive individuals”, and, and lacking evidentiary support. Thinking about that statement, one has to ask, why then are identical symptoms being reported by people all over the world? And, as to evidentiary support, the large deployment of wind turbines is only recent, so the investigation is just beginning. The state of Vermont, however, is taking the matter seriously enough that it has proposed legislation that would require that no wind turbine be located within 1.25 miles of any residence.
By 2030, environmental and lobby groups are pushing for the U.S. to produce 20% of its electricity from wind. According to the Department of Energy, meeting that goal will require the U.S. to have about 300,000 megawatts of wind capacity, an eightfold increase over current levels. Installing tens of thousands of new turbines inevitably means they’ll be located closer to populated areas.
Given that, the wind industry’s approach of basically sticking its head in the sand, and attributing the symptoms to “psychotic, overly sensitive people”, seems quite detached from reality, and definitely counterproductive to resolving the problem.