The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 135, 2272 (2014); doi: 10.1121/1.4877443
Stephen E. Ambrose, Robert W. Rand, Richard R. James and Michael A. Nissenbaum
Significant proportions of IWT facility neighbors complain about turbine noise and sleep disturbances, among other adverse health complaints. We undertook an independent evaluation of several wind turbine projects located in Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Illinois, Michigan, West Virginia, and Wisconsin to assess if common etiological factors exist. Adverse effects appear to relate to a basket of common factors that were overlooked or not included in preconstruction planning including noise predictions and assessments of likely community reactions. Correcting oversights in future projects should result in quieter IWT projects with reduced or no adverse community reactions. A unified methodology for doing so, enabling wind turbine developers, governmental agencies, municipal boards, and private citizens to assess for potential adverse noise impacts during the permitting phase is presented. Our results are consistent with prior USEPA studies, WHO assessments, and Pedersen and Waye research, among others.
So much damage for so little electricity
University of Waterloo Events
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 3:30 pm
Harm from Wind Turbines, What has been known for Decades. A review of research on the effects of Low Frequency/Infrasound on people and animals.
The topic of adverse health effects associated with wind facilities is globally debated. It is acknowledged that if placed too close to residents, industrial wind turbines can negatively affect the physical, mental and social well-being of some. In addition to the general population, at risk are the vulnerable such as fetuses, babies, children, elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions. There is published research on the effects of Low Frequency/Infrasound (LFI) on people and animals dating back several decades. This presentation will provide some of the available evidence drawn from peer reviewed literature, authoritative references, and other sources.
It is proposed that known risk of harm can be avoided by siting wind facilities a protective distance from residents.
Carmen Krogh is published in peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals and has presented papers at scientific noise conferences. She is an independent, full time volunteer and for almost 6 years has researched health and other effects associated with industrial wind energy facilities and shares information with individuals, communities, authorities, wind energy developers, industry and others. Krogh’s background in health care, vigilance monitoring, editing and publishing helps inform her work. She held senior positions at a major teaching hospital; as a drug information researcher; a professional association and the Health Protection Branch of Health Canada (PMRA). She is a former Director of Publications and Editor-in-chief of the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties (CPS), the book used by physicians, nurses, and health professionals for prescribing information on prescription medication in Canada. Her goal is evidence-based siting of IWTs that protects human health.https://uwaterloo.ca/events/events/carmen-krogh-harm-wind-turbines-what-has-been-known-decades
Host Cheriton School of Computer Science
Event website https://cs.uwaterloo.ca/~mannr/Krogh-Announce.html
DC - William G. Davis Computer Research CentreRoom 1302
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1Canada
Letter to the Australian Medical Association
It has come to my knowledge that you have released a position paper about the effects of low frequency noise and infrasound from wind power.
I would like to draw your attention to my recently published article about migraine and infrasound in the Swedish Medical Journal “Läkartidningen” which is available below.
As you well know, migraine is a polygenetic inherited disease with occasional episodes of headache. It is also well known that people with migraine are more sensitive to sound and light than the normal population, especially during an attack of migraine headache. Futhermore it is a well known fact that pulsating sound and flickering light are strong triggers to elicit an attack of migraine.
Migraine is a very common condition in the population with a 15% prevalence for migraine headache. It is quite obvious that the genetic predisposition is much higher – everyone with a genetic disposition will not suffer from migraine headaches. You may well live with the genetic predisposition and never suffer from migraine headache in all your life.
Recent studies have found that these genetic changes affect among others the Ca-channels. This channelopathie increases the cellular depolarisation and as a result the nerve cells are more sensitive to stimulation – less stimulus is needed to trigger a nerve-potential. The main triggers for migraine are – as we all know – all kinds of sensory stimulation, food containing biogenic amines such as tyramine, glutamine, histamine etc., and increased levels or fluctuating levels of estrogen.
Thus sound is a trigger. Loud noise of varying amplitude is a strong trigger that will increase the neural sensitivity in persons with migraine. For example a teacher with a genetic tendency to migraine in a noisy classroom. After a while all senses will become more sensitive (more sensitive to sound, more sensitive to light, more sensitive to vestibular stimuli for example). Hyperacusis makes the situation in the classroom worse and eventually an attack of migraine headache will appear.
Low frequency noise or infrasound noise is no exception. Even if the sound is not heard the sound pressure will exert the same force on the eardrum as audible sound. The sound waves will be transmitted to the inner ear and hair cells are then stimulated. Even if the stimulation is not recognized as sound it will affect brainstem centres and elicit other sensations.
Infrasound is normally not possible to hear, you more likely will feel it as a vibration. Low frequency sound is possible to hear if the volume (sound pressure in dB) is strong enough. But it is a known fact that there are persons who can hear low frequency sound and infrasound at sound pressure levels of 40 db or less. If you have migraine and have developed hyperacusis it is most likely that you are as sensitive to low frequency sound as to normal sound.
Infrasound from wind turbines has properties that differ from other types of infrasound such as infrasound emanating from natural sources (eg wind, rivers) and from artificial sources including road traffic. Infrasound from road traffic (as well as the other examples) has a continuous, constant character – a kind of constant background noise. Infrasound from wind turbines has a fluctuating character with varying amplitude. Infrasound from wind turbines also has three distinct frequencies with higher amplitude than the average infrasound pressure (blade pass frequencies).
A third issue is that the sound pressure for infrasound and low frequency sound is much stronger than the sound pressure for the sound you can hear (for audible sound). If the measured sound pressure at a given distance is 40 dB for audible sound, then the sound pressure for infrasound is 60–80 dB at the same measuring point. Additionally infrasound is amplified inside buildings by resonance effects.
Thus the conclusion is that low frequency sound and infrasound from wind power has the qualities to trigger increased sensitivity and eventually migraine headache or other migraine-symptoms – such as vertigo or tinnitus (without headache).As migraine is so common in the population, this is a relationship that you can not avoid considering.
Futhermore there is increasing knowledge that continuous stimulation of triggers eventually will create a central sensitisation in the brain with a chronic extremely increased sensitivity to sensory stimulation.
I hope that you will take these facts in consideration and advocate for further studies and work for a safe distance for wind power from homes and workplaces that will protect the public health.
Håkan Enbom M.D. Ph.D
22nd March, 2014
The Australian Medical Association Position Statement: “Wind Farms and Health” 2014 has provoked instant national and international condemnation from those who have first hand knowledge of the damaging impact of wind turbine noise, including impacted residents, researchers, and professionals providing either clinical care or acoustic services.
Some people are writing privately to the AMA, urging them to remove or update the ignorant AMA position statement, whilst others would like their views made public. As the Waubra Foundation becomes aware of letters written to the AMA and receives permission to reproduce them, they are being posted below.
The Waubra Foundation’s Open Letter to the AMA is here.
Gardner, Mrs. Ann Nine Questions for the AMA
My name is Ann Gardner and I have lived and worked happily and healthily for 34 years, on my husband’s and my farming property in south-west Victoria until October 2012, when the first only 15 turbines of the Macarthur wind farm began operation, and threw our lives and those of many others, into turmoil.
At the time of writing this letter I am suffering terribly from the infrasound emitted by the 140 turbines located FAR TOO CLOSE to our property.
I have a bad headache. I have a very strong pain shooting up through the back of my neck and into my head. I have extremely sore and blocked ears and very painful pressure in my nose. I have pressure in my jaws and my teeth. My heart is POUNDING .….. I can feel the vibration going through my body, through the chair, like an electric charge. I have just taken yet another two tablets to try and alleviate the pain.
I am also exhausted, as last night, along with every other night, I spent more time awake than asleep. The infrasound in our bedroom, was appalling .….. I could feel the vibration through the mattress and the pillow, like an electric charge through my body. My head felt as if a brick was on it, and the pressure and pain in my nose was extreme. I have always been a very sound sleeper, that is until October 2012. I am now lucky if I am able to get two or three hours sleep each night, in my own home.
Gallandy-Jakobsen, Greta. AMA Concerned About Machines Instead of Human Beings
Do you remember your oath as a member of the medical profession?
At the time of being admitted as a member of the medical profession:
- I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity;
- I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude that is their due;
- I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity;
- The health of my patient will be my first consideration;
- I will respect the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;
- I will maintain by all the means in my power, the honour and the noble traditions of the medical profession;
- My colleagues will be my sisters and brothers;
- I will not permit considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;
- I will maintain the utmost respect for human life;
- I will not use my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;
- I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour.
Enbom, Dr Hakam, MD, PhD. Otoneurologist, Angelholm, Sweden
"Thus the conclusion is that low frequency sound and infrasound from wind power has the qualities to trigger increased sensitivity and eventually migraine headache or other migraine-symptoms – such as vertigo or tinnitus (without headache)."
Hopkins, Dr Gary D. Emergency Physician, South Australia
"I am rendered speechless by your irresponsible, ill researched, ill advised and reckless statement that those who might suffer physical effects from the presence of turbines are suffering a psychological condition (anxiety). Indeed your very statement itself causes anxiety in those likely to be effected ( “who will believe me when I tell them I feel sick ” ? )."
McMurtry, Professor R. Researcher, Expert Witness, Former Dean Medical School, Ontario, Canada
"I am writing to comment on the AMA Position Statement. The position statement is surprising. It is not well informed, references are absent and the authors of the document are undisclosed. Many of the phrases and claims in the document faithfully reflect wind industry claims, claims which cannot be substantiated.
Review of the existing evidence in which direct assessment of exposed individuals has been carried out uniformly reveals adverse health effects2. The common denominator of complaints consists of sleep disturbance, inner ear disturbance and stress response. These are serious adverse health effects. These adverse health events have been reported globally in the media and grey literature."
Palmer, William. Professional Engineer, Ontario, Canada
"I wish to express to you my grave concern that the Position Statement as it is issued is not consistent with the Code of Ethics of the Australian Medical Association
There is obviously a need for discretion, but this information is from the public record:
None of these individuals’ deaths were expected"
- A gentleman in his 50’s who stood at a public meeting to declare he was suffering no adverse health effects from wind turbines near his home suffered a cardiac arrest and died within one week of his declaration.
- A young lady in her 30’s suffered an unexpected sudden cardiac arrest and died.
- Another gentleman in his 60’s had a cardiac arrest while out fishing and could not be revived.
- Another gentleman in his 60’s suffered a cardiac arrest while driving and passed away.
Papadopoulos, George. Pharmacist, Yass, NSW
"Both AMA position statements reflect an abstract position that does not examine reality.
It seems that the AMA perceives information and open discussion as a threat to the mental wellbeing of the modern Australian.
The harm wind turbines can cause has been described by NASA scientists in the 1980’s. The response by Sarah Laurie to the AMA is very comprehensive and makes the case clear"
Reider, Dr Sandy MD, Primary Care Physician, Vermont USA, has treated impacted residents
"As a rural primary care physician (graduate of Harvard Medical School in 1971) in northern Vermont, USA, I have observed first hand the adverse health effects experienced by individuals living too close to the two large wind projects that have been brought online in the area over the past few years."
Tibbetts, Dr. Jay J. MD, Primary Care Physician, Wisconsin, USA, has treated impacted residents
"Over the past four years the Board has studied the deleterious effects of IWT’s on human health.
We have the Shirley Wind Farm in our county. It consists of eight 500’ 2.5 megawatt IWT’s. The effects on our citizens living in the immediate vicinity i.e. 2–3 mi. of the nearest turbine has been devastating. Ear pressure , pain, tinnitus, vertigo, headache, nausea, chest pain pressure, abdominal pain, poor concentration, sleep deprivation, irritability and depression are some of the symptoms our citizens are experiencing. These symptoms are not unique to our facility but are reported world wide and a direct effect of ILFN. Three families from Shirley Wind have abandoned their homes and several others would move save for financial reasons."
To view and download these full letters and many others please visit the Waubra Foundation website
Re AMA Position Statement Wind Farms and Health
1. I am a Canadian citizen, formerly a dean of medicine, assistant deputy minister of health federally and a practising orthopaedist. I am a founding member of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded Evidence Network.
2. I have engaged with over 100 exposed individuals residing near industrial wind developments in the province of Ontario. These cases are documented.1
3. I have appeared as an expert witness on behalf of plaintiffs in actions versus the erection of wind farms too proximate to human habitation.
4. I am writing to comment on the AMA Position Statement. The position statement is surprising. It is not well informed, references are absent and the authors of the document are undisclosed. Many of the phrases and claims in the document faithfully reflect wind industry claims, claims which cannot be substantiated.
5. Review of the existing evidence in which direct assessment of exposed individuals has been carried out uniformly reveals adverse health effects2. The common denominator of complaints consists of sleep disturbance, inner ear disturbance and stress response. These are serious adverse health effects. These adverse health events have been reported globally in the media and grey literature.
5. I concur with that part of the AMA document that asserts that siting of wind farms “should be guided by the evidence”. Unfortunately the remainder of the AMA document fails to meet that standard.
6. I challenge the AMA to support third party research that leads to simultaneous physiological monitoring of exposed individuals during sleep and concurrent recording of sound pressure levels (SPL) including all frequencies (infrasound and low frequency sound) as well as weighted and unweighted decibel or sound intensity levels in the bedroom and outside the home. [Note averaging of SPL should not be done exclusively since key characteristics of the noise such as cresting and amplitude modulation will be excluded.]
7. In the absence of the information outlined in #6 above there has not been nor can there be evidence–based guidelines for the siting of wind turbines. This fact ought to concern the AMA and all responsible physicians.
8. More details are available upon request.
R Y McMurtry CM, MD, FRCSC, FACS
March 18, 2014
To Whom It May Concern,
I am a practicing physician, member of the Brown County Board of Health and Medical Adviser to the Brown County Health Department and am appalled by the misguided position of theAMA Australia on their position on the effects of ILFN on human health.Over the past four years the Board has studied the deleterious effects of IWT’s on human health.
We have the Shirley Wind Farm in out county. It consists of eight 500’ 2.5 megawatt IWT’s. The effects on our citizens living in the immediate vicinity i.e. 2–3 mi. of the nearest turbine has been devastating. Ear pressure , pain, tinnitus, vertigo, headache, nausea, chest pain pressure, abdominal pain, poor concentration, sleep deprivation, irritability and depression are some of the symptoms our citizens are experiencing. These symptoms are not unique to our facility but are reported world wide and a direct effect of ILFN. Three families from Shirley Wind have abandoned their homes and several others would move save for financial reasons.
Forty families have left their homes in a wind farm in Ontario, Canada because of the above mentioned symptoms. A study of Shirley Wind in 2013 by a group of acousticians has identified significant ILFN. Professor Alec Salt has identified the pathway of transmission of ILFN in the inner ear.
Brown County has been well aware of wind turbine health issues sending two resolutions passed by the County Board of Supervisors to the State of Wisconsin. Furthermore, Brown County working with Rick James is in the process of amending our noise ordinance to include ILFN similar to Germany, The Netherlands and Poland.
To accept the view of the AMA Australia challenges every bit of reason and study on this subject.
Dr Jay J. Tibbetts, MD
Green bay, WI 54303–3307
March 20, 2014
Dear Dr. Hambleton,
As a rural primary care physician ( graduate of Harvard Medical School in 1971 ) in northern Vermont, USA, I have observed first hand the adverse health effects experienced by individuals living too close to the two large wind projects that have been brought online in the area over the past few years. In my testimony ( see attached below ) last year before the Vermont Senate Health Care Committee ( as well as testimony before the Senate Natural Resources Committee and the Governor's Siting Commission ), I described one such patient in detail. His complaints are typical, and similar to symptoms reported by the 5 or 6 others, who I have seen in my office, as well as many other reports around the world. Though industry and health authorities alike have dismissed these case reports as anecdotal, their sheer numbers and consistency can be ignored only if there exists an intentional bias, but not on scientific grounds. I do understand there is much current debate about whether the health effects are "direct" or "indirect", but from a clinical perspective, looking at health outcomes, this is an entirely academic distinction, and not at all pertinent for the person(s) adversely affected.
Likewise, the industry's refusal to consider that very low frequency sound may be contributing to these adverse health effects, seems to represent another example of intentional scientific bias. A detailed study of infrasound produced by large downwind bladed wind turbines, and its health effects, was undertaken by the US Dept. of Energy and NASA in the mid-1980's:
It clearly documented the significant adverse effects of infrasound generated
by large downwind bladed wind turbines, and recommended protective sound threshold standards. This is far from new information, and taken with other more recent papers, it does not seem credible to exclude from consideration the adverse health effects from infrasound produced by these large modern wind turbines.
I cannot escape the conclusion that the siting standards for large wind projects have been, and continue to be, inadequate to protect the health of many persons living in their vicinity, and sincerely hope the Australian Medical Association will review it's current position that negates such concerns.
Sandy Reider MD
Photos of Chatham-Kent Industrial Wind Turbines February 2014
link to slideshow
Photos of Chatham-Kent Industrial Wind Turbines February 2014link to slideshow