Recently I visited some areas of rural South Australia and Victoria and spoke with quite a number of people who claimed to be adversely affected by the operation of industrial wind turbines in their vicinity. I queried if 100% of them could be affected by this new “nocebo effect” when its opposite — the placebo effect, was usually apparent in only 30% of experimental subjects. Unfortunately there is no reputable research supporting this “nocebo effect” so it must remain a guess.
Naturally as a psychologist (retired) I was interested in the deeper story than the widely reported symptoms I was hearing about. I was greatly disturbed when I was unable to find any other cause for their suffering than the turbines. So I did some research. What became obvious was the following:
1. Wind turbines make noise.2. Noise affects people.3. Some noise makes people happy and healthy, some noise makes people depressed and sick.More detailed research provided some more information behind the above statements:
1. Wind turbines make noise.
Rick James, in a paper by Alec N. Salt 2010, provides graphs of recordings titled Industrial Wind Turbines Generate Infrasound (http://oto2.wustl.edu/cochlea/wt1.html). These clearly illustrate the sound generated by wind turbines, both those sounds people can hear (e.g. blade passes) and those they can not (called infrasound).
2. Noise affects people.
The noise people can hear is obvious and affects people, some to their advantage and some to their disadvantage
The noise people can not hear is less obvious. Some is benign and some sickening.
It has been said that if a person can not hear something it can’t affect them. This is untrue. It is also untrue of the other senses – Infra red and ultraviolet light can not be seen but one burns your eyes and the other burns your skin: some poisons can not be tasted but can still kill you – e.g. Tetrodotoxin (puffer fish poison), salmonella and cholera toxin: carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide can not be smelled but can kill a person.
Again noise people can hear has obvious affects – fingernails scratching a black board, a beautiful symphony, the deep beat of a rock band, the scream of a jet fighter, the brakes of a truck and so on. http://www.windturbinesyndrome.com/2013
Sound that most people can not hear is either too highly pitched (high frequency) or too low (lower frequency than 20 Hz)
There is lots of anecdotal evidence that some infrasound, sound you normally don’t hear, makes you sick. Here are some of the health problems reported:-
Acute vestibular dysfunction/disorder (first 12 also listed by Affadavit of Dr Owen Black, MD, May 2009, De Kalb County, Illinois) to the recent Australian Senate enquiry.
- Sleep disturbance
- Headache, including migraines
- Ear pressure (often described as painful)
- Balance problems, dizziness
- Visual blurring
- Problems with concentration and memory
- Panic episodes
- Tachycardia (fast heart rate)
- Tachycardia (fast heart rate)
- Arrythmias, which residents might describe as palpitations
- Hypertension (High blood pressure) which has been reported by some residents to be considered unstable by their treating doctor or cardiologist, and to vary in response to exposure to operating wind turbines. continue reading entire letter here