Nurses for Safe Renewable Power

Looking for a healthy environment for everyone

Confirmation: research study documents health effects in turbine zone

One of the arguments put up by the corporate wind power developers is that there is no documented direct pathway between the noise produced by industrial-scale wind turbines and health effects among humans (although Canadian Wind Energy Association president Robert Hornung admitted in a TV interview that there were “indirect” effects).

The indirect effects are plentiful enough that it makes us wonder what kind of people make this sort of distinction? Cancer and heart disease are indirect results of smoking…why not accept the fact that something is happening to people exposed to the environmental noise from industrial-scale wind turbines?

Money. That’s why.

This week however saw the debut of a new medical report, this from Dr Michael Nissenbaum, Canadian researcher Jeffrey Aramini and U.K. physician Dr Chrstopher Hanning, published in peer-reviewed journal Noise & Health. (Nissenbaum MA, Aramini JJ, Hanning CD. Effects of industrial wind turbine noise on sleep and health. Noise Health 2012; 14:237-43. Available at http://www.noiseandhealth.org/article.asp?issn=1463-1741;year=2012;volume=14;issue=60;spage=237;epage=243;aulast=Nissenbaum )

Using several key indicators of health (the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Epworth Sleepiness Score plus an assessment of general health) the researchers found that “the adverse event reports of sleep disturbance and ill health by those living close to IWTs are supported.”

“We conclude,” the authors write, “that the noise emissions of IWTs disturbed the sleep and caused daytime sleepiness and impaired mental health in residents living within 1.4 km of the two IWT installations studied. Industrial wind turbine noise is a further source of environmental noise, with the potential to harm human health.” (Our emphasis)

Will this be enough to turn the tide of politically expedient doubt? To make organizations like CAPE and the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario take a second look?

We hope so.

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