Entries in wind turbine syndrome (8)

3/11/12 In the face of overwhelming evidence of trouble, what will the Wind Industry do? Deny, deny, deny

From California


By Miriam Raftery,

SOURCE: East County Magazine, eastcountymagazine.org

March 10, 2012 

With two new wind farms proposed for our region and another already in operation, evaluating potential health impacts is important.

A survey was conducted on wind farm noise as part of a Master’s dissertation by Zhenhua Wang, a graduate student in Geography, Environment and Population at the University of Adelaide, Australia. The results show that 70% of respondents living up to 5 kilometers away report being negatively affected by wind turbine noise, with more than 50% of them “very or moderately negatively affected”. This is considerably higher than what was found in previous studies conducted in Europe.

The survey was made in the vicinity of the Waterloo wind farm, South Australia, which is composed of 37 Vestas V90 3 MW turbines stretching over 18 km (1). These mega turbines are reported to be emitting more low frequency noise (LFN) than smaller models, and this causes more people to be affected, and over greater distances, by the usual symptoms of the Wind Turbine Syndrome (WTS): insomnia, headaches, nausea, stress, poor ability to concentrate, irritability, etc, leading to poorer health and a reduced immunity to illness.

The wind industry has consistently downplayed concerns over health issues, disputing findings such as those made by Dr. Nina Pierpont in her book and peer-reviewed report, Wind Turbine Syndrome. Dr. Pierpont received her medical degree from John Hopkins University and holds a PhD from Princeton University.

However some jurisdictions are enacting regulations to protect residents as evidence mounts to suggest negative health impacts are a dark side of going green through wind energy.

The Danish government recognized recently that LFN is an aggravating component in the noise that affects wind farm neighbors. This prompted their issuing regulations that limit low-frequency noise levels inside homes to 20 dB(A). Unfortunately, as denounced by Professor Henrik Moller, they manipulated the calculation parameters so as to allow LFN inside homes to actually reach 30 dB(A) in 30% of cases. “Hardly anyone would accept 30 dB(A) in their homes at night”, wrote the Professor last month (2).

A summary of the Australian survey has been published (3), but the full Masters dissertation has not been made available to the public. In the interest of public health, the European Platform against Windfarms (EPAW) and the North-American Platform against Windpower (NA-PAW), have asked the University of Adelaide to release this important document.

A neighbor of the Waterloo wind farm, Mr Andreas Marciniak, wrote to a local newspaper last week: “Do you think it’s funny that at my age I had to move to Adelaide into my Mother’s shed and my brother had to move to Hamilton into a caravan with no water or electricity?” Both Mr Marciniak and his brother have been advised by their treating doctors, including a cardiologist, to leave their homes and not return when the wind turbines are turning.

How many people will be forced to abandon their homes before governments pay attention, wonder the thousands of wind farm victims represented by EPAW and NAPAW. “It’ll take time to gather enough money for a big lawsuit”, says Sherri Lange, of NAPAW. “But time is on our side: victim numbers are increasing steadily.”

(1) – http://ecogeneration.com.au/news/waterloo_wind_farm_officially_opened/054715/
(2) – http://www.epaw.org/press/EPAW_NA-PAW_media_release_10Feb2012.pdf
(3) – http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/evaluation-of-wind-farm-noise-policies-in-south-australia/

7/6/10 About the problem the wind industry and Wind Siting Council member Dr. Jevon McFadden says isn't a problem: Dr. Nina Pierpont's presentation to Hammond Wind Committee


Presentation to the Hammond (NY) Wind Committee

Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Former Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, NY

July 5, 2010

My name is Nina Pierpont. I am a physician in Malone, NY, and author of a book called Wind Turbine Syndrome: a Report on a Natural Experiment, published in December 2009.

My M.D. is from the Johns Hopkins University. My PhD, in population biology, is from Princeton University. Population biology has extensive overlap with epidemiology. In fact, one of my doctoral committee members, Robert May, is a prominent theoretical epidemiologist, who subsequently became president of the Royal Society of London and scientific advisor to the Queen of England. He pronounced my Wind Turbine Syndrome study to be "impressive, interesting, and important."

A PhD in science is a research degree. I was specifically trained to do research on free-living, uncontrolled animal populations, including methods for structuring observations to turn the observations into quantitative and analyzable data.

I used this research training in my study of wind turbine health effects, to structure and analyze the information I gathered from affected people. I used my classical medical training from Johns Hopkins to actually gather the information.

A good patient history, we were taught (and my experience has borne out), provides a doctor with about 80% of the information he needs to diagnose a problem. I conducted thorough, structured clinical interviews of all my study subjects, directly interviewing all adults and older teens, and interviewing the parents of all child subjects.

My bachelors degree, also in biology, is from Yale University. I am a board-certified pediatrician and have had postgraduate training in behavioral medicine. I have been a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at Columbia University School of Physicians and Surgeons.

Wind turbine syndrome.

I introduced this term in testimony before the Energy Committee of the New York State Assembly in 2006. The National Academy of Sciences cited my testimony in their 2007 report, Environmental Impacts of Wind Energy Projects, and asked for more information about the physical effects I described.

A syndrome, medically, is a consistent collection of signs and symptoms. This is what I observed in people exposed to large, 1.5 to 3 MW wind turbines constructed since 2004. The first purpose of my study was to document the consistency of symptoms or problems among affected people, and to show, by a simple, practical method, that these symptoms are due to wind turbines.

I will come back to this in a moment. The second purpose was to examine why, given the same exposure, some people are more affected than others.

I did not, and could not given my limited resources, study what proportion of people are affected or how much exposure is needed to affect people. However, I have some preliminary data on proportion of people affected.

I called my study a case series. I knew it was more than a case series, however, and described what else I did with regard to subject selection and data gathering. Recently an interested epidemiologist has provided the terminology for what I actually did. I chose families who had at least one severely affected adult family member, and who had done two things: first, they had gone away from their homes and the wind turbines and seen their symptoms go away, and had come back and seen the symptoms return, generally several times. In epidemiology this is called a "case-crossover" design. It's very useful in situations like this one when both the exposure and the disease are transitory.

Second, I chose families who had spent or lost a lot of money to get away from the turbines, by selling their homes for reduced amounts, renting or buying a second home, renovating their homes in an attempt to keep out the noise, or outright abandoning their homes. I know of active legal cases in at least three states and two provinces in which the homeowner, after home abandonment, is suing either the wind turbine company or a state regulatory agency for recompense. In epidemiology, this is called a "revealed preference measure." The people who are suffering show by their actions that their health problem is worth more than the many thousands of dollars they have lost in trying to escape the exposure, and thus distinguishes their experiences from what might be dismissed as subjective or fakery.

My study had 38 subjects, in 10 families located in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Italy. I have interviewed further families in the US and Canada and have a larger case-crossover study paper in preparation.

The symptoms caused by turbine exposure are as follows:

1. Sleep disturbance, with a special kind of awakening in a state of high alarm. This applies to both adults and children. Severe sleep deprivation.

2. Headaches. Exacerbations of migraines, brought on by either noise or by light flicker. This refers to the strobe-like effect in rooms when turbine blade shadows repetitively pass over a window. People without a history of migraine also got severe headaches from turbine exposure.

3. Pressure and pain in ears and eyes. Tinnitus or ringing in the ears. Distortions of hearing. Buzzing inside the head.

4. Dizziness, vertigo, unsteadiness, and nausea, essentially seasickness on land.
Pierpont to Hammond (NY) Wind Committee July 5, 2010 Page 2 of 4

5. Sensations of internal pulsation or movement, in the chest or abdomen, associated with panic-like episodes, in people who had no previous episodes of panic. These episodes occurred while awake or asleep, awakening the affected people from sleep.

6. Problems with memory and concentration. Irritability and loss of energy and motivation. School and behavior problems in children. Increased aggression in both adults and children.

In the book, I document these symptoms for all study subjects, in 66 pages of structured, before-during-after accounts divided for each subject into organ systems or functions, such as sleep, headache, cognition, mood, balance and equilibrium, ears and hearing, eyes and vision, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, respiratory, etc.—before-during-after for each category.

It is critical that I interviewed people as much about their past medical history as about their current symptoms, to distinguish which symptoms were actually due to the exposure, and to identify the subjects’ risk factors for experiencing certain symptoms.

I then examined the relationships between medical factors before exposure and the tendency of subjects to have certain symptoms during the exposure, using simple and straightforward statistics. This was one of the reasons that I collected information on all family members, not just the most affected, so that I would have some equally exposed but less affected people in the sample, who had been gathered according to a consistent rule (collect data on all family members without regard to symptoms present or absent).

I found strong and statistically significant relationships:

1. Between the panic-internal pulsation symptoms and pre-existing motion sensitivity,
2. Between severe headaches during exposure and pre-existing migraine disorder, and
3. Between tinnitus during exposure and previous inner ear damage from noise or chemotherapy.

Equally as significant, I found no statistical association between pre-existing mental health disorder and the tendency to get panic-like episodes during exposure.

From these results I hypothesize about physiologic mechanisms for the effects, using an extensive review of the literature on low-frequency noise effects and on the neurophysiology of the balance system. This part, on how the wind turbines may be exerting their effects, is hypothetical. It is a proposal that inner ear specialists find it very interesting, but it is still hypothetical.

What is not hypothetical is that the turbines cause the symptoms (case-crossover design) and that the degree of illness caused is of such magnitude that people spend or forfeit many thousands of dollars to avoid the exposure (revealed preference data).

To get a preliminary idea of the proportion of people who may be affected, local affected residents around the Waubra wind farm in Victoria, Australia counted the numbers of households with affected people who had made their symptoms publicly known, the numbers of households that had abandoned their homes, and the total number of households within a radius of 3.5 km, the maximum distance at which there were affected people in this setting.

There were 153 total households. Two households had moved completely and a third was staying elsewhere because of their symptoms, or about 2% of households moved. An additional 19 households, another 12%, were affected but remained in their homes despite their chronic insomnia, etc.
Pierpont to Hammond (NY) Wind Committee July 5, 2010 Page 3 of 4

My study has attracted attention. The American and Canadian Wind Energy Associations published a critique without reading the study, since its paper was released within days of my book’s publication. The British Wind Energy Association has also issued a critique.

Carl V. Phillips, a Harvard-trained PhD in public policy and epidemiology, states that these and other industry-commissioned critiques "don’t represent proper scientific reading" of the evidence that there is a problem, my study among them.

Quoting from his testimony last week before the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, "The reports that I have read that claim there is no evidence that there is a problem seem to be based on a very simplistic understanding of epidemiology and self-serving definitions of what does and what does not count as evidence." He explains in a more detailed written report "why these claims, which probably seem convincing to most readers" at first glance, "don’t represent proper scientific reading." He points out that "the conclusions of the reports don’t even match their own analyses. The reports themselves actually concede that there are problems, and then somehow manage to reach the conclusion that there is no evidence that there are problems."

One industry critiques states that people become ill around wind turbines by power of suggestion, and that I was the person doing the suggesting. I was not: people became ill, made their decisions, and temporarily left their homes or moved out or renovated their houses before I ever found them. I found them because they had in some way made public what they had done.

When I found myself interviewing people who had not connected certain symptoms to the turbines and had not spent significant time away from their homes, I did not offer interpretations or advice or persist in questioning in those areas, nor did I include these families in the study.

The adults in the 10 families in my study are all practical, regular people. There are three fishermen, two teachers, two nurses, a physician, a home health aide, a farmer, a professional gardener, a computer programmer, a milk truck driver, and a number of homemakers. There were several retired disabled people. People like this don't disrupt their lives and spend or forfeit thousands of dollars for imaginary illness.

Again, the “revealed preference measure” shows us what is not purely subjective or fakery in the accounts of illness.

With regard to my mechanistic proposals, these have been taken up by the cochlear physiology laboratory at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. Professors Alec Salt and Timothy Hullar have just published a paper in the journal Hearing Research regarding physiologic mechanisms by which the low-frequency noise affects the inner ear, both the cochlea (hearing organ) and the vestibular (balance) organs.

One possible mechanism is by low-frequency noise inducing endolymphatic hydrops, or increased pressure and distortion of membrane positions and tension within the inner ear (as in Meniere’s disease). There are also differences in the functioning of inner and outer hair cells in the cochlea that may prevent us from hearing low-frequency noise that is indeed having a physiological effect on the ear.

Dr. Salt had already found effects of low-frequency noise on the inner ear experimentally, and explicitly incorporates references to wind turbine low-frequency noise and to my research in his paper.

This being an area of active research and new findings, one cannot rely on the out-of-date assumption that if people can’t hear a sound, it cannot have any other effect on them—one of the premises wind industry consultants rely on to assert that the low frequency noise produced by wind turbines is at too low a level to have any physiological effects. This premise is out of date.


Tuesday  July 6, 2010, beginning at 1:00 p.m and 6:00 p.m.

Docket 1-AC-231

Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
First Floor, Amnicon Falls Room
610 North Whitney Way, Madison, Wisconsin

 [Click here for map]

Audio and video of the meeting will be broadcast from the PSC Website beginning at 1:00.

CLICK HERE to visit the PSC website, click on the button on the left that says "Live Broadcast". Sometimes the meetings don't begin right on time. The broadcasts begin when the meetings do so keep checking back if you don't hear anything at the appointed start time.

Wind Siting Council
Docket 1-AC-231


1) Welcome/Review of today’s agenda
2) Review and adoption of meeting minutes of June 21, 2010 & June 23, 2010
3) Straw proposal amendment ballot results
4) Straw proposal revisions based on ballot results
5) Additional revisions to straw proposal prior to end of public comment period
6) Next steps/Discussion of next meeting’s time, place and agenda
7) Adjourn



3/3/10 TRIPLE FEATURE: Brown County Board takes wind turbine related health concerns seriously AND The wind industry says if you would only admit your turbine problems are all in your head you could do something about them. AND More turbines, more problems.

Home for sale, Fond du Lac County, WI February 2010



SOURCE: Greenbay Press-Gazette

By Tony Walter

March 3, 2010

A Brown County Board committee voted Tuesday to form a special committee to gather information about the health, safety and economic impact of wind turbines on county residents. 

  The Public Safety Committee didn’t specify who will serve on the committee or develop a timetable but agreed that the findings should be presented at a future committee meeting.

A Chicago-based developer is seeking state approval to build the first major commercial wind farm in Brown County, a project that would put 100 wind turbines in the towns of Morrison, Holland, Wrightstown and Glenmore.

The issue came to a head Tuesday because wind turbine opponents said there is evidence that they could interfere with emergency radio communications. But several of the approximately 50 wind farm opponents who attended the meeting said they are as concerned for health reasons.

“This whole thing is being jammed down our throats,” said Marilyn Nies of Greenleaf, whose 5-year-old daughter has a heart disease. Some wind turbine opponents say the turbines can cause a variety of health issues that could affect people like her daughter. “Is it going to hurt us to wait a year or two so real studies can be accomplished?”

Carl Johnson of Greenleaf said the turbines add the turbines will bring low frequency noise, which he called “a new type of pollution.”

Steve Deslauriers of Greenleaf urged the committee to consider a wind diversion ordinance.

“The county’s voice needs to be heard,” he said.

Carl Kuehne of Ledgeview cited university studies in Spain, Germany and Denmark that he said showed wind turbines to be “total, complete and utter failures” in those countries. He said other studies have shown property values decreased 25-40 percent on property adjacent to wind farms.

He asked the committee to recommend a moratorium on wind turbines until a thorough investigation can be completed.

Oil splatters on a Fond du Lac County wind turbine, February 2010 


The following commentary comes to Better Plan from a resident living in a Fond du Lac County wind project who wishes to remain anonymous.

You have an attitude problem.

That’s the wind industry’s latest explanation for the growing number of complaints from people living in industrial wind projects.  They say, “You people just don’t like these things.”
The implication is that if you just changed your attitude, the problems you're having with turbine noise, sleep disruption, shadow flicker, and homes that will not sell--- all of these problems will go away.
As a Wisconsin resident who has been living in a wind project for nearly two years, I have to ask what it is that the industry wants you to like? What is there to like about having your home surrounded by 400 foot wind turbines?  I can’t think of a thing …
-Unless you like constant audible and low frequency noise, from whooshing and thumping to grinding mechanical noises and transformer hum.    
-Unless you enjoy chronic sleep disruption and associated health problems for you and your family.

-Unless you enjoy signal interference on your radio, TV, and cell phone.   

-Unless you want to live in an area where Flight for Life emergency transport helicopters can no longer land.

-Unless you enjoy the strobe flashing of turbine shadow flicker inside and outside of your home on sunny days and moonlit nights.
-Unless you are glad the birds and bats are gone along and other wildlife once so common before the turbines went  up.
-Unless you think it’s beautiful to be surrounded by scores of red lights flashing in unison from the turbines at night, or regard leaking oil on the towers and land below as decorative.

-Unless you want to live in a place where wind developers pitted neighbor against neighbor and tore the community apart in a way that will never be repaired.
-Unless you appreciate your peace of mind and family relationships disintegrating because of the stress of no sleep and uncertainty about being able to sell your house, because you’ve seen how the houses in your project just sit with no buyers, because you know how few people want to buy a home so near turbines and you can’t blame them—because you wouldn’t want to live so close to wind turbines either.

Except, now, of course, you do.  

This new “blame the victim” PR move underscores the wind industry's own attitude problem, one of insensitivity and an inability to understand and be compassionate toward the people whose problems began only after the wind turbines went up.



There have been a number of reasons why residents of wind projects in our state have asked for anonymity when contacting Better Plan.  Some have family members who work for companies associated with construction of the turbines. Some have family members or neighbors who are hosting turbines. Some are hosting turbines themselves and regretting it, but are fearful of being sued by the wind company for violating the gag order in their contract.

Better Plan is glad to insure anonymity to any wind project resident who contacts us, but we always confirm the identity of anyone who submits material for us to post.

We'd like to thank the family who sent us this commentary.


Wind turbines stir up controversy in Brown County

SOURCE: WFRV-TV Channel 5 News

BROWN COUNTY (WFRV) – Some Brown County residents say they’re worried about plans to put a 100 turbine wind farm in southern Brown County.

Invenergy wants to build 400-foot wind turbines on 72-square miles of land.
Residents enumerated a host of issues they have with the build at a Brown County Committee meeting Tuesday evening.

Home owners say they're worried about well contamination, noise pollution and potential unseen health issues. A concerned parent speaking from the podium at Tuesday’s meeting said she’s worried the project could worsen her 5-year-old’s heart condition. She wants to delay the project a year or two for a comprehensive study. “I feel like this whole thing is being jammed down our throats.”

Steve Deslauriers, a Town of Morrison firefighter, says he’s worried 9-1-1 calls could be interrupted by the wind turbine’s blades. “If it impacts even one accident scene, it’s one too many” Deslauries tells Channel 5’s Jenna Sachs.

Deslauriers also says he’s worried history shows rescue choppers might not fly near the turbines. “We can look to Fond du Lac County as a guide for how flight rescue would be handled” Deslauriers says. “There they will not fly into a wind farm at night or into a cluster of wind turbines.”

Sachs spoke with representatives from Invenergy and Brown County Public Safety about the 9-1-1 issue. Both parties say they can work together to make sure 9-1-1 signals aren’t interrupted, since the new radio towers haven’t been built yet.

2/16/10: When you are old and out of shape.... which for industrial wind turbines means past the age of 20, but the contract with the wind developer goes on and on

2/2/10 Wind Wars: Wind industry continues to deny negative health impact in spite of increasing numbers of complaints from wind farm residents AND Let's review: What do night time noise levels have to do with an increased risk of coronary heart disease?

“The new data indicate that noise pollution is causing more deaths from heart disease than was previously thought."
 “Until now, the burden of disease related to the general population’s exposure to environmental noise has rarely been estimated in nonoccupational settings at the international level.”
---Deepak Prasher, professor of audiology, University College in London
Click on image below to hear what turbines sound like on a bad day in a Wisconsin wind farm. The variety of wind turbine sounds and the pulsing quality that so many complain about is audible here.
The turbine in this video is 1100 feet from the residence. Recorded by Larry Wunsch, fire fighter and resident of the Invenergy Forward Energy project near the Town of Byron in Fond du Lac County.

February  2, 2010
by Kristin Choo  
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