Keith Stelling, MA, (McMaster) MNIMH, MCPP (England)

For full report download pdf file here


Introduction
The Multi-municipal Wind Turbine Working Group was formed by municipal councillors in Grey, Bruce, and Huron Counties in Ontario in response to the growing number of complaints they were receiving from constituents concerning the installation of industrial wind turbines throughout the area. Councillors were aware of their responsibility regarding the health, safety, and well-being of their constituents. The Multi-municipal Wind Turbine Working Group was set up to share ideas on how to fulfill that responsibility. Complaints from citizens, including reports of adverse health impacts have persisted and increased as more turbines have been installed. The reported symptoms conform to those described internationally by many people living near wind turbines. 


1979: First report of human distress from wind turbines

The first wind turbine noise complaints in North America, reported over 35 years ago,sound strikingly familiar today. Residents living within 3 kilometres of a 2 MW wind turbine near Boone, North Carolina, described a periodic "thumping” sound accompanied by vibrations.  Many said that they could "feel" more than hear the sounds. They spoke of repetitive sleep disturbance and maintained that the sounds were louder and more annoying inside their homes than outside; some became more sensitive to the impact over time.


IV. Medical evidence on chronic infrasound exposure

World Health Organization: concerns about low frequency noise exposure

The 1999 World Health Organization (WHO) report “Guidelines for Community Noise” makes the following observations:

  “It should be noted that a large proportion of low-frequency component in a noise may increase considerably the adverse effects on health”.

  “The evidence on low frequency noise is sufficiently strong to warrant immediate concern”.

  “It should be noted that low-frequency noise . . . can disturb rest and sleep even at low sound 
pressure levels”.

  “Other primary physiological effects can also be induced by noise during sleep, including 
increased blood pressure; increased heart rate; … vasoconstriction; …cardiac arrhythmia”.

   “Special attention should also be given to the following considerations: . . . 
c. Sources with low-frequency components. [Sleep] disturbances may occur even though the sound pressure level during exposure is below 30 dBA”.

  “After prolonged exposure, susceptible individuals in the general population may develop permanent effects, such as hypertension and ischaemic heart disease. . .”.

  "For noise with a large proportion of low frequency sounds a still lower guideline (than 30dBA) is recommended."

  " When prominent low frequency components are present, noise measures based on A-weighting are inappropriate."
 


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