A new study conducted by a panel of seven experts from a variety of technical backgrounds has concluded that there are no indications that wind turbines have an adverse impact on the health of those living nearby. The study, a joint project between the Canadian Wind Energy Association and the American Wind Energy Association, attempts to delegitimize medical complaints by those living near wind farms.

In the study’s conclusion, it stated:

1. Sound from wind turbines does not pose a risk of hearing loss or any other adverse health effect in humans.
2. Subaudible, low frequency sound and infrasound from wind turbines do not present a risk to human health.
3. Some people may be annoyed at the presence of sound from wind turbines. Annoyance is not a pathological entity.
4. A major cause of concern about wind turbine sound is its fluctuating nature. Some may find this sound annoying, a reaction that depends primarily on personal characteristics as opposed to the intensity of the sound level.

This issue of annoyance was the one concession the panel was willing to grant, allowing that the swishing sound made by turbine blades could be perceived as an irritant by some. However, they tempered that concession by stating that this swishing sound was no louder than the ambient noise in an urban environment.

The authors also address Wind Turbine Syndrome in particular:

In particular, the panel considered “wind turbine syndrome” and vibroacoustic disease, which have been claimed as causes of adverse health effects. The evidence indicates that “wind turbine syndrome” is based on misinterpretation of physiologic data and that the features of the so-called syndrome are merely a subset of annoyance reactions. The evidence for vibroacoustic disease (tissue inflammation and fibrosis associated with sound exposure) is extremely dubious at levels of sound associated with wind turbines.

Because the study was funded by the wind industry—though, as one of the authors of the study, Dr. Robert McCunney, stated, “We had almost total independence doing this paper”—it is unlikely to sway the minds of those committed to the idea of wind turbine syndrome. To everybody else, however, it should be viewed as conclusive.

Read the entire study here.

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