Cohocton Wind Watch: Are turbines making some people sick?
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Are turbines making some people sick?

Opponents of wind farm developments allege turbines are not just ugly and inefficient, they can also make you sick. There are growing reports of people who live near wind turbines complaining of headaches, nausea, sleeplessness and other symptoms. Sufferers contend the illness is caused by low frequency noise and vibrations released by the turbines, along with the flickering shadows cast when the sunlight is cast through the blades. While wind power proponents contend there is conclusive evidence turbines are safe, Kingston's Medical Officer of Health was concerned enough to say developments need to be monitored. Here, we present four views on so-called "wind turbine syndrome." -- James Cowan, National Post

The Sufferer

"Our home was 423 metres from the nearest turbine. When we first heard about the project, we were trying to be green -- we always recycled more than we threw in the trash -- so I thought it was great. I was in favour of them, even as they were doing the construction around us. But my health did deteriorate immediately when the turbines were on . . . I had ringing in my ears, it felt like there was something crawling in my ears -- I said ‘what in earth is going on?' And then the shadowing effect when the sun is behind the blade, it was so bad, I just thought the top was going to blow off the top of my head. But we went camping in July and it cleared up -- I didn't have a headache, I wasn't going to bathroom as frequently, I had none of the itchy ears. I came back and it immediately started again. When the blades were facing the house, I couldn't concentrate at all, I couldn't sleep, my body would ache . . . so finally I started to clue in that something had to be going on with the turbines. I could tell before I got out of bed, just based on how I felt, whether they were running."

-- Helen Fraser, former neighbour of Melancthon Wind Project in Ontario

The Author

"If people are so disturbed by their headaches, tinnitus, panic, sleeplessness, or disrupted children that they must move or abandon their homes to get away from wind turbine noise and vibration, then that noise and vibration is significant, because the symptoms it causes are significant. The role of an ethical acoustician is to figure out what type and intensity of noise or vibration creates particular symptoms, and to propose effective control measures. My study subjects make it clear that their problems are caused by noise and vibration. Some symptoms in some subjects are also triggered by moving blade shadows."

-- from the website of Dr. Nina Pierpont, author of Wind Turbine Syndrome

The Government

"Additional research is still required to make definitive conclusions about wind turbine noise impacts as well as human response to wind farms.

In addition, detailed research on meteorological conditions, and their impact on sound generation needs to be undertaken to realise definitive conclusions."

-- Acoustic Consulting Report prepared for Ontario government by Ramani Ramakrishnan, Acoustician

The Industry

"There have been studies published in all kinds of peer reviewed journals that say there's no link here. Now, all that aside, there are still people who claim to have impacts on their health -- we don't know why. Health is very complicated thing and we don't dismiss their claims. If they're feeling unhealthy, they're feeling unhealthy. But there's nothing in the scientific literature to suggest it is the wind turbines doing this."


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