“High probability” of serious health effects from wind turbine noise emissions, say researchers

Government and public health authorities have failed to protect health, say researchers in a new paper published in Environmental Disease journal

 

Home in Huron County surrounded by turbines [Photo Gary Moon for WCO]
October 24, 2021

Wind power developers and their government supporters have long claimed that there is “no proof” of a link between wind turbine noise emissions and poor health. Yet concerns persist around the world, and there are many people who claim to have had their lives and health adversely affected by being forced to live near the wind power generators.

A new research paper published last week in the Environmental Disease journal concludes that “exposure to IWTs [industrial wind turbines] is associated with an increased risk of AHEs [Adverse Health Effects]. The analysis concludes that living or working near IWTs can result in AHEs in both people and animals.”

The paper addresses the fact that despite many thousands of complaints about noise and health effects around the world, research as yet to conclude a causal relationship between wind turbine noise and poor health. The authors employ a series of criteria developed by famed epidemiologist and statistician Sir Austin Bradford Hill in order to answer that question.

The result? The criteria for establishing a cause and effect relationship were met and the conclusion can be made that “exposure to IWTs is associated with an increased risk” of adverse health effects.

The authors cite studies from all around the world, including Shepherd in New Zealand, the Bridgewater study in Australian and numerous others, as well as papers produced by Wind Concerns Ontario on noise complaints filed with the Ontario government. One study was completed by two acoustics experts who became ill themselves while studying the noise emissions from a wind power project in the United States.

Most noise studies do not accurately measure wind turbine noise

“The vast majority of studies of sound from wind turbines do not accurately measure the presence of LFN [low frequency noise] or infrasound,” the authors said. “This failure of public health authorities and governments to monitor the impact of LFN and infrasound on exposed individuals impedes the proper interpretation of results and is not consistent with the WHO [World Health Organization] report “Guidelines for Community Noise’ that states: ‘When prominent low-frequency components are present, noise measures based on A-weighting are inappropriate’.”

A failure of government and public health authorities

The authors say with the “growing weight of evidence” and the “rapid proliferation of IWT installations globally” it is time for governments to act to protect public health.

“Preventive action should be taken and policies implemented that are more cautiously protective of public health, safety and welfare,” the authors conclude.

“More stringent regulation is needed to recognize, monitor, analyze, and document effects on the health of local residents and animals.”

More effective and precautionary setback distances should also be employed.

In Ontario, the regulations governing the approval and monitoring of industrial-scale wind turbines has not changed since 2009, and many aspects of the regulations still in force today were dictated to previous governments by the wind power lobby, including setback distances.

A statement by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health published in 2010 also has not been revised (though an update was developed in 2014 but never published). It continues to be used by Ontario medical officers of health as “proof” that there is no link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects, despite thousands of records of complaints held by the environment ministry.

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

 

Australian wind farm operator commits fraud, causes wilful harm to project neighbours

“Costing us a fortune to fight these multinational mobs” says local farmer

Two of the 52 wind turbines in the Bald Hills power project: the company collected millions then did nothing to fix problems [Photo: Bald Hills Wind Farm]
October 11, 2021

Recent testimony from the ongoing Bald Hills court case in Australia revealed the stunning news that while the wind power operator denied there were problems with its turbines, in fact it collected millions in compensation for the defective power generators…but then did nothing to fix them!

Read the news story here. An excerpt:

In the latest of a series of “David versus Goliath” wind farm cases in Victoria, local farmers John Zakula and Noel Uren are requesting damages for noise disturbance and could demand the wind farm be deactivated for at least some of the day. Infrastructure Capital Group disagrees with claims that its turbines have been causing significant disturbance.

Mr Arthur also conceded during cross-examination that his company had not told Mr Zakula and Mr Uren they were receiving compensation payments at the same time as operating the wind farm.

Speaking to The Sunday Age, Mr Zakula describes the sound of the turbines just over a kilometre from his home as “like a roaring train”.

The 64-year-old bought his property in Tarwin Lower in 2011, building his off-grid home from scratch with an organic farm and solar panels.

His bedroom had a window from floor to ceiling. Within a year of Bald Hills opening in 2015 – around the same time he lodged his first complaint to South Gippsland Shire Council – Mr Zakula pulled out the glass and replaced it with bluestone rocks to try and counter the noise.

For Mr Uren, who moved to a different property three years ago, it was the unpredictability of the turbine noise that most triggered him.

“It was worse in cold weather and when the wind came from a certain direction. Some days I’d look at the forecast, see cold days and dread the roaring I knew was on the way.”

The duo’s grievances have culminated in a challenge in the state’s highest court that will hear both sides’ final arguments on Tuesday.

The case typifies an increasingly common dispute in Victoria: residents protesting against the installation of noisy wind farms in what is a rapidly expanding sector.

“It’s costing us a fortune against these big multinational mobs. I’d like the entire compliance regime to be investigated and reconsidered after this,” he says.

A key word in this story is “tonality,” as it was apparently acknowledged the turbines were faulty, and produced harmful tonal emissions. In Ontario, the environment ministry Provincial Officers were directed not to treat the noise from wind turbines as “tonal or cyclic in nature.” (Page 14, WTG Complaint Response and Management, Ministry of the Environment Noise Measurement Training, West Central Region, June, 2010).

At the K2 Wind power facility, the ministry issued letters to citizens following measurement indicating that tonal emissions had been detected, but the turbines underwent an audit conducted by the operator, and are still operating today.

For the Bald Hills operator to knowingly inflict tonal emissions on nearby property owners—for YEARS—is the height of duplicity and callous disregard for the health of others.

The wind industry needs to address this problem immediately.

In Ontario, the government should conduct a complete revision of all wind power related processes from approval to measurement, compliance and enforcement. It needs to do that now.

Contact@windconcernsontario.ca

Citizen noise complaints spur public health investigation at Nation Rise

Taking matters into their own hands: a North Stormont resident measures turbine noise above regulated levels [Submitted photo]
October 8, 2021

People living in the Finch-Berwick-Crysler areas of North Stormont began filing complaints about noise from the wind turbines in the 29-turbine Nation Rise power project well before it was commissioned in July.

As the turbines were being tested and run intermittently, there were complaints about noise, sound pressure and vibration, and reports of headache, feelings of pressure in the head and chest, and sleepless, fitful nights.

A resident living near Crysler wrote to Wind Concerns Ontario in March with this report:

Today I woke up at 5 am and got out of bed. Soon after I started to feel  nauseous and dizzy. I became hot and sweaty and felt so unwell that I had to lie down on the floor for 15 minutes. I got up then felt chilled and had pressure in my chest.  I was able to go back to bed and woke up a few hours later. I felt better and noticed 5 of the 6 turbines around my home were now not turning.

He added that when he left his home for a period of time, all his symptoms vanished. He is now in the care of a cardiologist.

Yesterday, a local newspaper reported that the Ontario government has launched an investigation into the noise complaints and reports of adverse health effects at Nation Rise.

This is a hopeful sign but if Ontario continues to use its outdated and ineffective noise measurement protocol, it will not be serving the interests of residents, or solving the problem.

As we have documented for the government many times, the entire regulatory process for wind turbines needs to be revised, and soon.

In the meantime, we encourage people to keep filing complaints, and to report adverse health effects to their physician and local health unit.

To report wind turbine noise, or any other effect thought to be connected to turbine operations, please call 1-866-MOE-TIPS or use the online reporting tool, here: Report Pollution | Ontario.ca (gov.on.ca)

 

contact@windconcernsontario.ca