Infrasound: negative consequences for human health, says scientist

April 14, 2023

An academic paper delivered a few days ago at a conference in Sweden dealt with infrasound as produced by grid-scale wind turbines, and the negative consequences for health and the environment.

Vladimir Voskoboinick, who has a doctorate in Engineering Science and is head of Department at Institute of Hydromechanics at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, published a paper titled, Infrasound and its impact on people at the recent “Innovations and Prospects in Modern Science” conference held in Stockholm, April 10-12, 2023.

“Wind energy converters in the form of horizontal or vertical wind generators are built and operated both on land and in sea spaces,” Voskoboinick said. “But these installations have one of the biggest drawbacks, namely that they generate acoustic waves and vibrations in the infrasound range.

“Research results have shown that this infrasound radiation has a significant impact on the environment, worsens ecology and has negative consequences for the health of living beings and, in particular, people who live and work near industrial wind turbines.

“Effects such as emotional/psychological disorders and sleep disturbances/failures, headaches, fatigue, decreased concentration and impact on quality of life are caused by local residence of wind energy facilities.”

He went on to advise governments and policy-makers that “it is recommended to avoid threatening infrasound parameters during the design and construction of modern industrial complexes and equipment that emit infrasound, or to reduce its intensity and increase the frequency range.”

This advice fits in well with Wind Concerns Ontario’s recommendation last year to change setbacks between wind turbines and homes to a minimum of 2 km. At present, Ontario’s setback regulation, based on estimates of noise produced by wind turbines, is 550 metres—which has proven to be inadequate, as evidenced by the thousands of noise complaints received by the government.

The regulation is unchanged from 2009, despite advances in research, and worldwide trends for greater setback distances.

Interesting that the professor refers to an Ontario-based paper published in 2020, based on experiences in Ontario with wind turbines. In Déja vu and Wind Turbines: A Review of Lived Experiences after Appeals of Ontario Industrial-Scale Wind Power Facilities, the authors provide examples of how citizen concerns about environment and health have actually come to be reality, as evidenced by complaints made to the Ontario government regarding environmental noise and disruption of groundwater sources.

It is time for Ontario to look at the environmental effects of wind turbines, as well as economic factors, and undertake a careful review, and plan of action to protect people.

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