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Are wind farms a health risk? US scientist identifies 'wind turbine syndrome'

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posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 10:01 AM

Living too close to wind turbines can cause heart disease, tinnitus, vertigo, panic attacks, migraines and sleep deprivation, according to groundbreaking research to be published later this year by an American doctor.

Dr Nina Pierpont, a leading New York paediatrician, has been studying the symptoms displayed by people living near wind turbines in the US, the UK, Italy, Ireland and Canada for more than five years. Her findings have led her to confirm what she has identified as a new health risk, wind turbine syndrome (WTS). This is the disruption or abnormal stimulation of the inner ear's vestibular system by turbine infrasound and low-frequency noise, the most distinctive feature of which is a group of symptoms which she calls visceral vibratory vestibular disturbance, or VVVD. They cause problems ranging from internal pulsation, quivering, nervousness, fear, a compulsion to flee, chest tightness and tachycardia – increased heart rate. Turbine noise can also trigger nightmares and other disorders in children as well as harm cognitive development in the young, she claims. However, Dr Pierpont also makes it clear that not all people living close to turbines are susceptible.

Gag orders?

In Canada, Ontario is one of the only provinces with any regulations governing wind farms, requiring a noise-impact assessment for areas up to 1,000 metres from the wind turbine.

McMurtry is concerned about the health complaints he’s heard from people living near wind farms, including sleep disturbance from the noise of the giant turbine blades.

“Once you have sleep disturbance for a few days, you aren’t going to be feeling well,” he said.

Dr. Magda Havas Ph.D., Associate Professor of Environmental and Resource Studies at Peterborough’s Trent University and one of the world’s leading research experts in the areas of electromagnetic pollution, radio frequency radiation, ground current and dirty electricity delivered alarming warnings about the dangers to human and animal health, posed by Industrial Wind Turbines.

Dr. Havas was the featured speaker in Picton. Havas identified two significant problem areas that pose substantive threats to the health of those living or working in proximity to wind turbine developments – Infrasound or Low Frequency Sound emitted by the turbines themselves and both Dirty Electricity and stray voltage related to the electricity produced by turbines.

The human body feels and reacts to sound waves that we cannot hear. These waves, in the low end of the sound spectrum (under 20 Hz), are well documented to cause nausea, joint pain, insomnia, depression, agitation, increased blood pressure and possible heart problems. It is also a major cause of Vibroacoustic Disease which can lead to vision problems, digestive problems, cardiovascular problems, and circulatory difficulties.

Yet another example of why wind cannot possibly support a 21st century style of living. Cardiovascular problems? Lack of sleep?

[edit on 10/9/2009 by C0bzz]

posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 10:23 AM
Can't be worse than Pollution effects on the air and water and health of people? Or the noise from engines, or dams? Or the effects of radiation near power plants?

What I think people miss, is that by harnessing the wind, we are effectively removing energy from the air and changing it to electricity! If we do enough of this to make any kind of significant impact on the energy crisis, we will also make a significant impact on weather patterns, crops, migrations, pollen, etc.!

The same goes for removing solar energy from striking the earth, and instead changing it to electricity.

The same goes for harnessing rushing water, and turning it to electrical energy.

The same goes for harnessing wave action, and geothermal, and any other new forms of shackling mother nature with our lust for electrical power!!!

Whatever energy we capture will be taken away from nature in one way or another! What if we convert all the geothermal, and solar, and wind, and wave action into electricity? We will be left with a lifeless planet!

ENERGY CONSUMPTION is the problem, not finding more ways to generate it!

posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 11:54 AM
reply to post by C0bzz

This could very well be a very real threat of 'living close to wind farms'.

Currently there is NO consideration given to the citing of wind farms and their relationship to human health and that will obviously have to change. link

This is good thing. Specifically studying the various impacts this new technology can and will have and designing around them.

This studies finding however is in no way shape or form evidence that wind energy is in any way not a excellent resource for the future. Citing will simply have to be done in a manner that ensures humans are not living within the effective area. Problem solved.

The reaction to this study is similar to the reaction to the study(ies) that reveled birds were being killed by turbines. link

One very common reaction was the assertion that this was evidence that wind energy was going to be unsustainable and should not be pursued.

This is an assertion I simply can not fathom. Why not? Everything has an impact. Currently we rely on fossil fuels such as coal for power, it has far worse impacts on both humans and the environment.

Then there is nuclear. While very stringent safety measures are taken to prevent impacts, the waste product is a pollutant that has no equal on the planet. It can destroy EVERYTHING.

But we should use those instead of wind because if you live close to a wind farm you can get sick? Or some birds can be killed?

[edit on 10-9-2009 by Animal]

posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 12:42 PM
Here is one (of many) good potential solutions to the issue at hand:

StatoilHydro Launches First Full Scale Floating Wind-Turbine

posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 12:47 PM
Cant have them close by and cant have them far away (they ruin the Kennedy's ocean view).

Guess we'll have to nuke some sand-filled country flat and put them there. As long and they dont interfere with any politicians views across the desert.

posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 03:52 PM
So we start using wind turbines as an alternative source of energy.

The environmentalists are like "YAY"!!

Some scientist somewhere says they give you heart problems and sleep problems all of a sudden we are viewing them negatively?

I don't see her studying the symptoms of people that live say near huge power lines or an oil refinery!

Tell me something that actually is 100% good for you? Cell phones? Electronics? Microwave ovens? No? The sun?

Our tap water has worse side effects!

[edit on 10-9-2009 by DaMod]

posted on Sep, 10 2009 @ 04:02 PM
lol what a funny little "expose"

For this doc knows, these people in this community are having these problems because of natural earth bound phenomenon. Heavy metals in the water , buried nearby toxic material, slow underground gas leaks.. immediately associating it with wind turbines in silly.

agenda much?

posted on Sep, 11 2009 @ 03:58 AM

Can't be worse than Pollution effects on the air and water and health of people? Or the noise from engines, or dams? Or the effects of radiation near power plants?

Probably not, however the issues wind has are seldom talked about.

What I think people miss, is that by harnessing the wind, we are effectively removing energy from the air and changing it to electricity! If we do enough of this to make any kind of significant impact on the energy crisis, we will also make a significant impact on weather patterns, crops, migrations, pollen, etc.!

In my opinion the notion that electrical generation from renewable sources will significantly impact the climate is nothing more than pseudoscience. And while I would support a study on these effects, it is far from proven.

ENERGY CONSUMPTION is the problem, not finding more ways to generate it!

Australia's electrical demand is set to double by 2050, however in other countries, such as China, the increase will be significantly bigger, where electrical demand will triple by 2030. Fact of the matter is, electrical power generation is almost perfectly correlated with living standards. Furthermore, moving away from oil will require more power for electric cars. Because of the inherit limitations of renewable energy, nearly all of this increase will be supplied by coal. Point is, we need more power, and "new" ways to generate it. The effects of not doing so could be disastrous.

This studies finding however is in no way shape or form evidence that wind energy is in any way not a excellent resource for the future. Citing will simply have to be done in a manner that ensures humans are not living within the effective area. Problem solved.

Wind certainly has a place in the future, however this is a relatively small place because of intermittency problems, cost problems, and space problems. It can only offset the use of other energies because of its low capacity factor and also the fact that is has much difficulty integrating with the grid, 20% max.

If we assume electrical demand will double by 2050 and wind can only supply 20% of that, the rest of the increase will have to come from other renewable power, Nuclear, or fossil fuels. Of course, it is worth noting that countries that use the most renewable energy also have the highest cost of electricity, like Denmark, at 22.89 cents (U.S) per k/w hour, while the lowest costs are in Canada for example, at 6.18 cents where energy is mostly Nuclear and Hydroelectric. Let me reiterate, I don't see how most renewable energies, including wind, can solve our increasing reliance on electricity.

[edit on 11/9/2009 by C0bzz]

posted on Sep, 11 2009 @ 04:29 AM
Disclaimer: I'm a theist but not of the Abrahamic faiths. I have minor biblical scholar and scriptural skills. Also I am not a scientific/legal or medical expert in any field. Beware of my Contagious Memes! & watch out that you don't get cut on my Occams razor.All of this is my personal conjecture and should not be considered the absolute or most definitive state of things as they really are. Use this information at your own risk! I accept no liability if your ideology comes crashing down around you with accompanying consequences!

Explanation: Seems to me that its more to do with VLF sound than EM frequencies. All these things vibrate and IMO they haven't engineered a solution to this.It could be easily fixed [if the VLF sound is the culprit] with some 1/2 phase audio ocillators tuned to the frequency in question. That could be powered dierct or via solar and battery. also placing them asymetrically would help reduce any between generator harmonics multiplying.

Personal Disclosure: Not that EM frequencies can't mysteriously cause problems RE: Australian ABC transmitter and studio closed in QLD after massive breast cancer cluster reared its hydra like head. Repeated and independant testing could neither confirm or deny the transmitter was at fault but as W.Churchill once remarked...once is happenstance, twice is mere coincidence...three times and your under attack!

Edited to S&F.
Edited can't into can..soz. me tired and a

Edited to change it back.... :shk: me cant seem to even read what I posted correctly. myacerebral infarction or what?
edit on 11-9-2009 by OmegaLogos]

[edit on 11-9-2009 by OmegaLogos]

[edit on 11-9-2009 by OmegaLogos]

posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 09:54 PM
my first reaction to this thread was well then don't live next to a wind turbine farm....but then after thinking a bit it could happen to buy a house in the country and all is fine until one day the property next door gets converted into a wind turbine farm....then what?...after this news gets out then nobody will want to buy your house and you are stuck living with this....what a disaster...when these farms get built they should be required to buy the land surrounding the area to prevent this from ever happening to a family...

posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 10:00 PM
New conspiracy in the making

"The government are trying to kill us via clean energy methods and secret low frequency death sounds"

Or another conspiracy could be

"Turbines don't kill you, it's just corporate funded research with an agenda to keep energy company profits up"

posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 10:00 PM
I just recently went on vacation and saw one of these giant wind turbine blades spinning and just couldn't drive by without stopping to check it out...the wife was not impressed...what a strange feeling being next to this has to stop and is a mechanical device and eventually its going to fail....imagine that a huge blade breaking off or a bearing going bad....I was just in awe at the sight of this thing...and the sound coming from it just made my skin crawl....was a low humm that alternated...and after just 10 or 15 minutes there I was ready to go... It was a very irritating noise....just took me by suprise because when I first got there it was kind of a peacefull sound until staying there for a while...can't imagine living next to something like that...

posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 10:04 PM
I am currently working on a thread about this same subject, here are some exerpts from an article I plan to use:

The Dangers of Wind Power
By Simone Kaiser and Michael Fröhlingsdorf

Wind turbines continue to multiply the world over. But as they grow bigger and bigger, the number of dangerous accidents is climbing. How safe is wind energy?
It came without warning. A sudden gust of wind ripped the tip off of the rotor blade with a loud bang. The heavy, 10-meter (32 foot) fragment spun through the air, and crashed into a field some 200 meters away.
The wind turbine, which is 100 meters (328 feet) tall, broke apart in early November 2006 in the region of Oldenburg in northern Germany -- and the consequences of the event are only now becoming apparent. Startled by the accident, the local building authority ordered the examination of six other wind turbines of the same model.

The results, which finally came in this summer, alarmed District Administrator Frank Eger. He immediately alerted the state government of Lower Saxony, writing that he had shut down four turbines due to safety concerns. It was already the second incident in his district, he wrote, adding that turbines of this type could pose a threat across the country. The expert evaluation had discovered possible manufacturing defects and irregularities.

Mishaps, Breakdowns and Accidents
After the industry's recent boom years, wind power providers and experts are now concerned. The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting. Gearboxes hiding inside the casings perched on top of the towering masts have short shelf lives, often crapping out before even five years is up. In some cases, fractures form along the rotors, or even in the foundation, after only limited operation. Short circuits or overheated propellers have been known to cause fires.

No Time for Testing
Generous government subsidies have transformed wind power into a billion-euro industry within just a few years. Because energy providers have to purchase wind power at set prices, everyone, it seems, wants in.
But it is precisely the industry's prodigious success that is leading to its technological shortcomings. "Many companies have sold an endless number of units," complains engineer Manfred Perkun, until recently a claims adjuster for R+V Insurance. "It hardly leaves any time for testing prototypes."
Wind power expert Martin Stöckl knows the problems all too well. The Bavarian travels some 80,000 kilometers (49,710 miles) across Germany every year, but he is only rarely able to help the wind farmers. It is not just the rotors that, due to enormous worldwide demand, take forever to deliver, but simple replacement parts are likewise nowhere to be found. "You often have to wait 18 months for a new rotor mount, which means the turbine stands still for that long," says Stöckl.

Even among insurers, who raced into the new market in the 1990s, wind power is now considered a risky sector. Industry giant Allianz was faced with around a thousand damage claims in 2006 alone. Jan Pohl, who works for Allianz in Munich, has calculated that on average "an operator has to expect damage to his facility every four years, not including malfunctions and uninsured breakdowns."
Many insurance companies have learned their lessons and are now writing maintenance requirements -- requiring wind farmers to replace vulnerable components such as gearboxes every five years -- directly into their contracts. But a gearbox replacement can cost up to 10 percent of the original construction price tag, enough to cut deep into anticipated profits. Indeed, many investors may be in for a nasty surprise. "Between 3,000 and 4,000 older facilities are currently due for new insurance policies," says Holger Martsfeld, head of technical insurance at Germany's leading wind turbine insurer Gothaer. "We know that many of these facilities have flaws."

Flaws And Dangers
And the technical hitches are not without their dangers. For example:
In December of last year, fragments of a broken rotor blade landed on a road shortly before rush hour traffic near the city of Trier.
Two wind turbines caught fire near Osnabrück and in the Havelland region in January. The firefighters could only watch: Their ladders were not tall enough to reach the burning casings.
The same month, a 70-meter (230-foot) tall wind turbine folded in half in Schleswig-Holstein -- right next to a highway.
The rotor blades of a wind turbine in Brandenburg ripped off at a height of 100 meters (328 feet). Fragments of the rotors stuck into a grain field near a road.

The engineering expert suspects construction errors are to blame. "The facilities keep getting bigger," he says, "but the diameter of the masts has to remain the same because otherwise they would be too big to transport on the roadways."

Not Sufficiently Resilient
Still the wind power business is focusing on replacing smaller facilities with ever larger ones. With all the best sites already taken, boosting size is one of the few ways left to boost output. On land at least. So far, there are no offshore wind parks in German waters, a situation that Minister Gabriel hopes to change. He wants offshore wind farms to produce a total of 25,000 megawatts by 2030.
Perhaps by then, the lessons learned on land will ward off disaster at sea. Many constructors of such offshore facilities in other countries have run into difficulties.

From what this article states and it does make sense, I get the picture in my mind of many potential problems by putting the cart before the horse.

However it is interesting to think about how they can make the bottoms of the poles in the offshore turbines mimic safe habitats for indigenous sea creatures.

Also when you start digging it becomes clear that this is already paid off and in the works. They will just wait out some of the fossil fuel accidents and incedents first to get the public behind the change.

[edit on 8-8-2010 by antar]

posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 10:06 PM
We heed to make the entire earth a turbine, it spins on its own axis does it not?

In fact I could get a gov. grant to travel to the Arctic and begin construction of a armature specifically for that reason...anyone of you greens want to go?

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